Van Halen – Panama
The brothers Alex and Eddie van Halen, who were born in Amsterdam, moved to the town of Pasadena in California at a young age and set up a rock band there. David Lee Roth, from whom they previously rent the sound equipment, becomes the frontman. It’s the early 70s and they call their band Genesis. If it turns out that there is already a band with that name (with Phil Collins as a drummer), they change their name to ‘Mammoth’, which in 1974 definitively changes to ‘Van Halen’.
Van Halen was one of the most important hard rock bands in the late 1970s and 1980s. Van Halen was a typical Californian band that wrapped up cheerful themes in rock-solid songs. Not only guitar acrobat Eddie Van Halen and the overactive singer David Lee Roth were race musicians, the unobtrusive but solid rhythm section of Michael Anthony (bass) and Alex Van Halen (drums) was also excellent.
When two Warner Brothers employees see Van Halen performing in Hollywood, the band has a record deal in their pocket within a week. Their debut album arrives at the end of 1977 on the nineteenth place of the American Billboard charts, and with ten million copies sold it is one of the most successful rock debut albums ever.
In the years that follow, several albums are released and tours are made, with a new album alternating with a tour each year. The big hit follows in 1984 when the single ‘Jump’ becomes their first (and so far only) number 1 hit. However, Roth is not amused that Eddie van Halen is doing more and more chores outside the band, such as playing a track for ‘Back To The Future’ or playing along with Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’. At the same time, the band is not happy that Roth is constantly under the influence of drugs, and this is reflected in an unavoidable break.
After the tumultuous departure of Roth, the position of the singer was taken by Sammy Hagar. When Hagar also left the band after a number of albums, the future of the band seemed to be at stake. Eventually, the band found Gary Cherone (former singer of Extreme) a temporary replacement.