Who’s the better Van Halen Front Man?


For this weeks poll we’re asking … Who do you think is the better Van Halen front man? David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, or Gary Cherone? Make sure you vote in the poll  then leave your comments below. Note: You must be logged-in to comment.


Who's the better Van Halen front man?

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20 thoughts on “Who’s the better Van Halen Front Man?

  1. RJ, nice post. Very heartfelt, seems maybe the subject struck a nerve? I happen to agree with you and I agree this is exactly what we’re looking for on this site. The video arnoldlayne posted is a perfect example of the energy, drive and flat out power of the early VH. That’s what grabbed my attention back then, shame it didn’t last!

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    • Hey thanks!!!
      Was this video from the 81/82 bootleg? I used to have this bL VHS tape of Van Halen live in San Diego and San Fran maybe..? I think this first video was somewhere on that bootleg. Did anyone else ever see this bootleg?
      Dave was so f-ing drunk. At one point, while playing Somebody get me a doctor; (Eddies playing on this song was very bad ass btw!!! If you go back to album II and listen to the pre-solo break riff thing, they do, Eddie plays that perfect live in bootleg, and the solo was spot on too or at least I remember it that way…)) -Dave says (during verse) “You know what San Fransico……? ………. I-for-got-the fucking-words!!?! oowwh yeah?!,, -Somebody get a me doctor!!!” Then he babbles the next verse literally like a white James Brown and says Oooaagh!!!! Somebody get me a doctor…” lol f-ing great, and hilarious.

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  2. Well said! After all, this is about taste and everybody’s is different. I always walked around thinking the majority of VH fans were Dave VH fans first… It looks as if [once again I am in the minority here…
    I’m definitely a purist when it comes to Van Halen; I started listening to them as a little kid. I had all of the albums and couldn’t believe the range in styles and sounds these guys would rock. I’d rock-out to atomic punk or light up the sky on one track, and then mellow out to Big Bad Bill, little guitars or hear about it later on the next, then go back to the full bug!!! The mastery of styles, writing and the live sounding recordings… Geesish! I loved that they weren’t consistent, they were anything but consistent which kept every Dave album, a whole lotta entertaining.
    I can’t describe the disappointment I felt upon learning that Dave’s VH blew up and Sammy Hagar was picked to continue the VH lineup. (Looking back, I think this kind of horror prepped me emotionally, so I could handle the witnessing of the Challenger explosion in the 5th grade.) For some though, the magic was probably just starting, but for me the Van Halen I knew was definitely dead. They teamed up with a guy who wrote “I can’t drive fifty-five… “ Another thing I cannot fully describe to you -my utter contempt for that song.
    Where you say “and there seems to be a real voice to go with the great music.” I must ask, was Dave’s voice a fake one? If, by a real voice you mean more “regular,” “traditional,” “contemporary” than I absolutely agree with you but those words usually don’t describe greatness. Sammy didn’t have the range Dave had, and to boot Hagar’s lyrics seemed (at times) to be covered in warmed over cheese sauce. At the least, Dave had that scream-o-screechin Haagh! Strategically placed in between some tough-ass lyrics! Just bad ass….
    Speaking of all of this I remembered a show I had seen about the early dayz of VH. The original 70’s roadies for the Dave’s VH band described:
    • Scenes of utter- dumbfounded-amazement amongst club’s patrons in Pasadena and Hollywood …
    • Women lining the walls of the clubs with their shirts over their tittles as if saying “TAKE US IF YOU WANT US!!! once twice thrice ROCK GODS!! Now come on how many bands does this happen too?
    • Live performances during these early times were polished too, even Dave at this point was in perfect form and hungry for huge success. After scoring real US arena tours, the first of which they opened for Journey (who after 3 shows were faced the decision to either reverse the lineup and let VH open for them, or let VH go from the tour; they let VH go… Apparently, even Journey fans were less than enthusiastic about seeing Journey after Dave’s VH was finished opening…) They were then picked up by Sabbath who shortly recognized we (Sabbath) better open for them!!!) And so it went.
    I saw Sammy’s VH live and it weren’t nothing like that!!!!
    Before the club/arena scene they gigged college campuses and whipped kids into frenzies. That kind of excitement is evident (for me at least) throughout those early albums/songs and is exactly what Dave’s Van Halen represented to me. I could feel that quality in those songs. Eddie DAVE Michael Alex dropped them bombs…!
    I definitely think Van Hagar has real rock-n-roll value (and yes I do get it) as the music/harmonies/melodies were very well written, (it’s not like I didn’t listen to them) but just can’t agree that the magic of Hagar trumps or even comes close to those early days and albums- for Dave’s VH was nothing short of fantastic.

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  3. Let’s hear it Ralph JetsuN. State your case!! I’m guessing you are a Roth fan. If you are a Cherone fan, than hats off to you Ralph. I too like the Roth/Halen era. I think that it comes down to consistent quality of work. While some of the Roth/Halen songs are fantastic! Fair Warning, Women and Children First, Diver Down, and 1984 are my favorite albums. I think that the Van Hagar catalog is more consistent, better written, and there seems to be a real voice to go with the great music. Not to mention the added talent of the second guitar player, although I believe they could have and should have used Sammy’s guitar more. The style of music did change, and for the hard core fan, it took time to get it. That I admit. I would love to hear your opinions, and the reason you are not happy with the poll. One more thing, does 666 really mean the sun?

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  4. Hmmm, tequila aside,gotta stick with Dave. Can you say,… originality, energy, stage presence? What is a 3 lock box anyway?

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  5. Definitely Sammy. He gave the band a new dimension by adding another guitar. It filled out Eddie’s sound. I do like early Van Halen songs……but enjoy whole albums of Sammy era. He just rocks and he made his own Tequilla!!!

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  6. Is there a way to edit replies on these boards? My previous statement should say “(Sam and David in my opinion)” not “(Sam and Eddie in my opinion)”.

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  7. My vote had to go to Sam. I am a music of the music fan myself. The difference between the actual music between the main two choices (Sam and David in my opinion) is negligible. My vote goes to Sammy based almost solely on the fact that he is more of a stable front man and benefits the band much more off the stage than Eddie would have ever been able to. On stage they would both bring a solid front to any band they were with. Unfortunately bands spend much more time off stage then they do on.

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  8. I agree. The band was better with Sammy. Not that ALOT of the older stuff isn’t great. They just seem to be more of a band with him in front. Definitely (Sammy) sings a hell of allot better than Roth, and has proven to be a force on his own. Not that Dave’s solo stuff is bad…..Pffff. My vote is with Sammy!

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  9. When Sammy left or was “let go” as Edward would claim, they were getting better with Sammy with each album that they released. Sammy was the glue that made it all work. There was chemistry that nobody could deny. Having seen them several times with Sammy their stage presence was undeniable!! I unfortunately only got the chance to see them with Dave once. I hope to see the Red Rocker back in front some day. But my man Ed needs to grow up first!!

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  10. Right now I’m thinking “This is a tough one”, Right now I like both Sammy and Dave … Gary not so much. Right now opportunity is passing you by. Right now the Van Hagar stuff rules! Right now someone is working too hard for minimum wage. Right now I voted for Sammy.

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