Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Why Sammy Hagar was Better than David Lee Roth

For fans of Van Halen, the debate has raged: Who was the better front man, David Lee Roth, or Sammy Hagar? 

While I am a fan of both versions of the band, I feel that David Lee Roth couldn't carry Sammy Hagar's jock strap. 

Here are the top ten reasons why Sammy is better than Dave:

  • Singing Ability - Dave can't sing.  Sorry, he can't.  He can shout and screech, but he cannot sing.  As a front man Dave is flamboyant.  As a singer, he's horrible. Conversely, Sammy can sing, and can sing well. 
  • Vocal Range - Sammy has great range, and is able to excel on songs that Roth would have no chance on recording.  Examples include Standing on Top of the World, Poundcake, Feeling, and Sucker in a Three Piece are just some simple examples
  • Attitude - Dave is all about Dave.  Just one look at any Van Halen or Roth video will be all you need to know about Dave.  Even his stage persona is all about Dave.  At my only Roth era VH concert (Diver Down tour, I believe), Dave stopped the band mid-song, points down into the crowd and says "Hey, this &*%^% just dumped his beer on me, man!"  To which the crowd boos vociferously.  "That's OK, that's OK," he continues, "because after the concert I'm gonna $%$# his girlfriend."  To which the crowd erupts.  Good line, huh?  It better be, because he used it at every concert stop that tour. 
  • Videos - Simple.  Roth era videos are all about Dave.  Just check out Jump, or Hot for Teacher, or Panama and see for yourself.  Hagar era videos are about the band, the music, or something bigger.  Here are two great examples:




  • Guitar - Another simple one.  Sammy plays, which affords opportunities for Eddie to expand, either via guitar or keyboards. All Dave plays is a ego-centric tool in music videos.
  • Treatment of Fans - Sammy was dead set against a greatest hits album with "new material" as he felt it was just another way to soak fans.  Dave, not so much.  When Eddie broke a guitar on stage and showered fans with debris, Sammy was outraged.  It became the last straw with the alcoholic Eddie.  I doubt Dave would have cared that much, unless it would have caused someone in the front row to spill a beer on him...
  • Pre-Van Halen Work - Prior to joining Van Halen, Sammy had two albums with Montrose, 8 solo albums (including two platinum and a gold), and an album with HSAS under his belt.  Dave launched with Van Halen, so this isn't really fair.  Understood. But consider...
  • Post-Van Halen Work - Sammy has continued to excel, with two solo albums, 5 with the Waboritas, and two outstanding albums with Chickenfoot.  Dave had 5 solo albums that have sold less and less with each subsequent release.  Self-indulgent but commercially successful efforts included "Eat 'em and Smile" and "Skyscraper."  Pretty much after that Dave was left to playing a burlesque show Vegas and moonlighting as an EMT.
  • Class - At the induction of Van Halen in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, only Sammy and Michael Anthony showed up.  Eddie was a raging alcoholic, Alex deferred due to Eddie's condition, and Dave didn't show because his performance had been cancelled.  That left Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar for the induction speech, and both gave proper credit to Dave for VH's early years and success.  Now, in your mind's eye, imagine if tables had been turned and only Dave gave the speech.  I doubt he would have been so generous.
  • Handling of Michael Anthony - VH's sound is hallmarked by two things - Eddie's incredible guitar work and Michael Anthony's incredible high harmonies.  In their post-Van Halen periods, Dave, obviously feeling Michael was replaceable, seemed content to settle for Eddie's kid Wolfgang on bass.  Sammy, on the other hand, knew the value that Anthony brought to the sound, and worked with him on a couple of side projects, including the current one with Chickenfoot.
Please don't get me wrong - I am a fan of the Roth vintage of Van Halen.  Any music fan would have to be one.  However, I really tire of folks not giving Sammy his due.  The Hagar vintage of VH was a better one, and one that continues to age well.


27 comments:

  1. Some of it might not have anything to do with Hagar though. In 1984 Van Halen was really an interesting sound. Fun, fresh, flamboyant, masculine. By the time Hagar came on board, they were withered and out of touch, repetitive, and boring.

    ReplyDelete
  2. David Lee Roth is Van Halen's singer. Simple as that. It's just a fact.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I prefer Hagar. Dave was all about the tang, and i aint talkin about the drink. I like women as much as the next guy, maybe more, but I dont a: treat them like sex objects and b:need to listen to songs about getting it. Sammy was much much deeper, and the irony is he probly got/still gets more than dave. Also, Sam did have a range, and if youre a guitarist you know that on 5150 Ed had a Steinberger with a transtrem, that would allow it to transpose tunings mid song. Summer Nights is a great example with some riffs played a whole step below standard in open D. Dave couldnt have pulled that off. Also sammy does play guitar. very very well in fact and not only did he compose a few of Ed's solos, he also transformed evh's playing slightly. Ever notice how after 1984 he started using those massive bar chords with open strings ringing? Sammy started that on three lock box i believe. Also there was a lot more down tuning. With dlr, it was 1/4 step below standard to accomodate his voice. that is a weird pitch to tune to, and with sh, it was 1/2 step below to give a heavier punchier sound, and calling upon his range again, the 5150 album was as i said transposed mid song on a few. they also had several more drop d tunes as well. and around the time of 812 or unlawful, they were tuned to standard E. the man had range.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous, great post. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  4. Sammy had Soul and brought that to the band. Roth was an awful singer.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Agreed on all counts. Hagar can sing Hot for Teacher. Lets see Roth sing Right Now.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sammy in my mind was brilliant n stats dont lie that they had greater success when Sammy was in the band then when David was

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With Dave they sold more albums..FACT

      Delete
    2. True, but VH hadn't had a #1 album until Sammy came along, and all of the Van Hagar albums hit #1, while Diamond Dave only reached #2 at his peak with VH.

      Delete
    3. Yeah but it was a lot easier for them to get a #1 album with Hagar, because Hagar joined when Van Halen was one of the biggest bands in the world. Album sales are much more important.
      And I have never heard Hagar sing anywhere near as low as Roth does on Let It All Hang Out or The Trouble With Never. They had different ranges.
      And Hagar did not have deeper lyrics. Listen to I'll Wait, Little Dreamer, Push COmes To Shove, or literally anything from Fair Warning. Most of Hagar's lyrics were meaningless. Yeah, he has Right Now and Mine All Mine, but those are the only 2 songs I can think of with him with meaningful lyrics. Roth took on deeper and darker topics, no doubt. Read the lyrics to the Hagar songs: Up For Breakfast, Source Of Infection, Finish What Ya Started, Summer Nights, Black And Blue, Feels So Good, Big Fat Money, Spanked, Runaround, Get Up, Good Enough, Poundcake, and Amsterdam. He sings about women just as much as Roth.

      Delete
  7. I like songs from DLR era; plus Dave is VH's original singer. I prefer Sammy however, like others previously posted, DLR songs were mostly about women, but when Sammy was with VH, they wrote songs about love, hope, blue angels; things that matter and inspire. I always wondered what it would be like if both Dave and Sammy were in VH and got along; but I don't think that'll ever happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roth had more meaningful lyrics for sure. Hagar sang about women as much as Roth. Roth's lyrics made much more meaning and told stories. Secrets, Angel Eyes (demo), I'll Wait, Little Guitars, Mean Street, Push Comes To Shove, Little Dreamer, And The Cradle Will Rock, and Top Jimmy (about the band VH used to play with back in the day).

      Delete
  8. With Diamond Dave,the band sold two albums over 10 millions in US.
    With Sammy Hagar the band had four albums at number one spot on hot 200.
    since 40 years the band released the classics (van halen,van halen ll ,1984) Roth era
    and hagar era (5150,unlawful knowledge)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Without DLR the band would have never made it. I'm reading the latest biography about them. Eddie was content to play backyard parties for the rest of his life. Dave had the ambition. Dave also had the flash. It was a combination of Eddie's skills and Dave's flash that got them to the top. If they had started with Sammy they would have never gotten to the top.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I completely agree. There are tons of legendary guitarists who never get much recognition without a legendary frontman. Has anybody even heard of the band UFO? Probably not many people have, but they are spectacular, and Michael Schenker is amazing, but they never stood out like Van Halen.

      Delete
  10. This is very inaccurate. VERY. Roth actually has very respectable range, he just has a naturally low voice. Listen to Let It All Hang Out. Hot For Teacher easily has one of the best music videos ever,and Roth was one of the directors of it. Hagar had no involvement with the video of Right Now, which was your example. So that video has nothing to do with Hagar. "All Dave plays is a ego-centric tool in music videos." No, Roth plays guitar, he sings, he plays synth, and harmonica. The pre-Van Halen work argument doesn't work either, since, as even you said, Roth started with Van Halen. Roth sold just as much outside of Van Halen as Hagar- you can look it up, it is true. And Chickenfoot literally stopped releasing albums due to poor sales. And as far as class, Hagar has been bashing Van Halen for the longest time. You can't just make an argument by saying, "I doubt Roth would've given credit to Hagar," because that hasn't happened.
    "VH's sound is hallmarked by two things - Eddie's incredible guitar work and Michael Anthony's incredible high harmonies." I disagree, VH was everybody in the Roth era, which basically influenced almost every rock band of the 80's and a lot in the early 90's, no doubt at all. Roth's fun/party lyrics and the band's metal music was a unique combo. Roth contributed so much more to the band than Anthony. I'm sorry, but this article is incredibly biased against Roth, and it is not factual. Sorry if I sound mean, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
    The band definitely had some good music with Hagar, but the music with Roth was legendary. Listen to Push Comes To Shove. Even their less-popular songs were innovative.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am responding to my own comment. if the author of this article reads my comment, please don't be offended. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, I just thought you were being a little unfair to Roth. I get pretty defensive when it comes to people insulting him lol, because a lot of them sell him really short. Roth and Hagar were both legendary and incredibly talented.

      Delete
    2. No offense taken at all. It's all good debate, and good music, regardless of who was in front of the mic

      Delete
    3. I was the anonymous guy who posted those comments, I just wasn't signed into my Google account when I posted them. And I agree, both had some excellent music. I am always worried that I sound mean when I comment online lol, but I never mean to offend anyone. I would actually feel really bad if I did lol. The reason I am like this is just because I see so many rude comments online, and I don't want to be like that. And we are all entitled to our own opinions, so if you prefer VH with Hagar, that's fine with me :)

      Delete
  11. Is this even a debate? Diamond Dave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No it isnt a debate. Hagar has more talent in one hand than Douchebag Dave has in his entire body. How in the blue heck anyone could think Roth is better boggles the mind. And if you do, you frankly just dont know music.

      Delete
  12. WOOOOOW that was a painful read.

    Lets run down your points

    "Dave can't sing" - Holy shit really? Man was incredible. This makes me want to disregard your entire post with how stupid that is.

    Vocal range- Hagar has good range but its a dull one. David lee roth brought fun and excitement to the music.

    Attitude/Videos - DLR is a narc and there is zero doubt about that. But as far as 80's rock is concerned it was the perfect attitude. The whole band is narcissism. Do you even listen to their music?

    Guitar abliity- DLR DOES PLAY GUITAR, you would know this if you listened to VH. Need a hint? go check out some live "Ice Cream Man"

    Treatment of fans/Class - This is your only possible valid point and even then it has little to do with the music at the end of the day. DLR is a douche and we love him for it.

    Pre/post halen - I fail to see why pre halen makes any difference since DLR came out swinging and was a large part of getting the massive crowds. Read a book or watch a documentary. Post halen is matter of opinion but I prefer the DLR Vai combo over the boring shit hagar and halen put out.

    Michael- DLR had less to do with this and it was more about VH hating MA.

    Hagar Halen is really good, but it doesn't even begin to come near the amazing power of DLR VH. There is a reason when people think of the 80's VH comes to mind, and its due to timeless songs like Hot for teacher and Jump. When you say VH no one goes "OH MAN I LOVED THE SONG SPANKED"

    ReplyDelete
  13. Roth is better for one simple attribution. Swagger. When Van Halen came on the scene they broke the mold and redefined an era. A lot of that had to do with Roth's attitude. With Hagar they became a bland version of Journey. And many have pointed out Roth is a much superior songwriter than Hagar who never met a cliche he didn't like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. really, DLR write California girls and all his awful single career songs.

      Delete
    2. Roth is a much superior songwriter than Hagar? Are you on crack dude? Dave only wanted to do covers. Dancing in the Street for crying out loud? Sammy actually has original hit material from his solo days.

      Delete
  14. Dave had talent but he never brought it live every single night. Sammy did with vocals, guitars, and just being one of the guys. Dave had to be Diamond Dave all the time. I watched a documentary on Dave and after the first 5 minutes I figured it would be a 90 minute piece on how Dave was the 80's and it pretty much was. Look at videos like Live Without a Net those guys are just having an amazing time. Also loved hearing Sammy who is an extremely under rated guitarist getting his chance to play. That says a lot when one of the greatest guitarist of all time thinks you're good enough to play their stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Dont forget that as lead singer of Montrose, Sammy Hagar was an inspiration for Iron Maiden. IRON FRICKING MAIDEN! (A band that would eat either Van Halen or Van Hagar for lunch by the way)

    ReplyDelete

Please feel free to include any thoughts you may have. Know, however, that kiddos might be reading this, so please keep the adult language to yourself. I know, for me to ask that language is clean is a stretch...

yeldogpat-20