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Van Halen tried to bury their ‘Van Hagar’-era music after David Lee Roth’s return says Sammy Hagar

Van Hagar
(Image credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Sammy Hagar says that Van Halen tried to “bury” the four US Number 1 albums he recorded with the band, after original vocalist David Lee Roth returned to the fold.

Hagar joined the hard rock superstars after Roth quit the group in 1985, and fronted the band on four studio albums, 1986’s 5150, 1988’s OU812, 1991’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and 1995’s Balance, all of which topped the Billboard 200 album charts in America. Those albums, Hagar believes, were pushed into the background after Roth reunited with the Pasadena rockers.

“It seems like since Van Halen did the Roth reunion that they tried to really bury the Van Hagar era,” Hagar tells Ultimate Classic Rock. “They wouldn’t remaster it, they wouldn’t allow it to be in movies. They wouldn’t allow it to be licensed for video games and commercials. They pushed everything from the Roth era, because they were doing that reunion. Understood.”

For Hagar, those albums contain “such great material.”

“All Number One albums,” he points out. “You know, 50 million records.”

Hagar goes on to say how well songs from the ‘Van Hagar’ era, even deep cuts, go down with audiences when aired during gigs by his band the Circle.

“Every time we play that stuff, the audience goes crazy,” he notes. “We added Good Enough to the show, we added Human Being from Twister. We’ve added some really deep tracks recently and, man, it doesn’t matter which song you play - it ain’t just the hits. They’re not just Why Can’t This Be Love. You play Humans Being and the place goes fuckin’ nuts. They know every word. So we’re going, ‘Man, this stuff is golden.’ It’s never gonna die, and we’re not gonna let it.”

Although Hagar and Eddie Van Halen patched up their differences before the guitarist’s death last year, relations between Hagar and David Lee Roth remain frosty, at best.

“I didn’t like [David Lee] Roth’s antics,” Hagar told EVH biographer Paul Brannigan. “I didn’t see how any guys could like him, but I guess they did. It’s like Howard Stern once said, ‘If David’s biggest fans ran into him in a bar they’d kick his ass!’“