‘The Red Rocker’ first attracted attention while fronting Californian hard-rockers Montrose, and then built a solid reputation as a solo performer after quitting the band in 1975. Dynamic and full of attitude, he became one of the most celebrated hard rockers of the 70s. Later, Hagar found considerable fame with Van Halen, but it’s these songs that are the foundation of his success.
10) Young Girl Blues (1976)
A cover of the Donovan song which Hagar did for the Nine On A Ten Scale Album. Certainly a different type of performance from Hagar’s typical full-on rampage, this shows a respect and sensitivity to the original. It’s early proof that the man had the talent to diversify.
9) I Got The Fire (1974)
The stand-out track from the undervalued second Montrose album Paper Money. There’s an underlying soulful aptitude in Hagar’s vocals that makes this really impressive. While the relationship between Hagar and Ronnie Montrose was disintegrating at the time, the pair combine their skills beautifully, with the former’s prowess proving absolutely crucial.
8) Turn Up The Music (1977)
The title sums up the Hagar philosophy – make it loud! From the Musical Chairs album, it has thrust and pace. Arguably the better version, though, is on the All Night Long live record. In this environment, you can appreciate just why this became such a big hitting anthem for Hagar.
7) Trans Am (Highway Wonderland) (1979)
David Lee Roth once mocked Hagar for writing a love song about a car. But this track from Street Machine captures the feel of putting the pedal to the floor on the freeway, while the sun blazes. Hagar has a passion for this classic American car, and it shines through.
6) Rock ‘N’ Roll Weekend (1977)
This song, from the Sammy Hagar album, has the stride of a consummate hard rockin’ soul cruise. It’s got some fine guitar moments from Hagar and Gary Pihl and gives the man himself the chance to show off his strutting vocal chops. Live, it was always a high kicking favourite.
5) I’ve Done Everything For You (1979)
Propelled by a pneumatic riff, this is one of the highlights on All Night Long, although a studio version appears on the B side of Hagar’s single (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay. A quickfire flash of simple melody and confrontational lyricism, this is a sharp, spirited crowd rouser.
4) This Planet’s On Fire (Burn In Hell) (1979)
Opening with a frenzied fretboard assault, this is a volcanic eruption of late 70s American metal quality. From Street Machine, it has venomous guitar exchanges between Hagar and Pihl, a molten chorus, and vocal style that, at times, leans a little towards rap. A riotous, up and at ‘em tune.
3) Bad Motor Scooter (1973)
A Montrose classic that Hagar subsequently made his own. From the self-titled Montose debut and written by Hagar, it burns up the road in a charge of biker rock aggression. On All Night Long, the riffs are fully revved up, turning it into an electrifying, death defying tour de force.
2) Red (1977)
This is the colour most associated with Hagar, so you’d expect the song bearing this title would be among his most impressive. And this track from Sammy Hagar lives up to expectations. It’s a fist pumping, chant-along winner and live, as on All Night Long, it was an eternal crowd pleaser.
1) Space Station #5 (1973)
Among the most iconic hard rock songs of the 70s, this masterpiece from the debut Montrose album is stunning. It has everything – surging riffs, bravura vocals and a pulsing melody. Hagar subsequently put his own stamp on this, as you can hear on Loud & Clear, the UK version of All Night Long.
Your shout: have we missed your favourite 70s Hagar anthem? Let us know in the comments below…