Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar

Infobox musical artist
Name = Sammy Hagar

Img_capt= Sammy Hagar live at the Moondance Jam on July 10, 2008. Photo by Matt Becker
Background = solo_singer
Born = birth date and age|1947|10|13
Monterey, California
Birth_name = Samuel Roy Hagar
Instrument = Vocals, Guitar
Alias = The Red Rocker
Genre = Rock, hard rock, heavy metal
Associated_acts = Van Halen, Montrose, The Waboritas, HSAS
Label =
Years_active = 1973 - present
Notable_instruments = Yamaha Sammy Hagar Signature model, Custom VOA Dean ML, Custom Jackson King V

Samuel Roy "Sammy" Hagar (born October 13 1947), known as "The Red Rocker", is an American rock guitarist, singer, and composer. Hagar was one of the singers for Van Halen, as well as of the early 1970s rock band Montrose. He is of Arab, Irish and Italian descent and is the cousin of Christian rock musician Ken Tamplin. On March 12 2007, Hagar was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Van Halen. He currently resides in Mill Valley, California.


Hagar was born in Monterey, California, United States, North America.

Pre-Montrose years

After a brief career as a boxer in the footsteps of his father, Hagar became interested in the burgeoning Southern California music scene, fronting his first band, The Fabulous Catillas.

In 1968, Hagar joined his first professional group, the Johnny Fortune Band, as a vocalist and rhythm guitarist.Fact|date=July 2008 In 1963, in response to a question on late night radio about who the world's greatest guitarist was, Hagar immediately named Johnny Fortune. [Soul Surfer, 1963.]

Reportedly, Hagar was also in some other pre-Montrose bands including Skinny, Sammy Hagar Band, Justice Brothers, Dustcloud, Cotton, Jimmy, and Manhole.Fact|date=July 2007

Justice Brothers also featured drummer David Lauser.Fact|date=July 2008

Montrose years (1973 - 1975)

Hagar's first major success, however, came from his work with the group Montrose on their debut and second albums, including the Hagar-penned song "Bad Motor Scooter". After difficulties with the band's founder, Ronnie Montrose, during a European tour, Hagar departed from the group with bassist Bill Church in tow and drummer Denny Carmassi followed in 1977.

olo (1976 - 1984)

Hagar started a solo recording and touring career to increasing success. After moderate success on Capitol Records, with such albums as "Nine on a Ten Scale" and hits such as "Red," Hagar made some personnel changes, including enlisting long time friend and former Justice Brothers bandmate David Lauser as his drummer. With these changes, and a change to Geffen Records, Hagar enjoyed hits such as "Heavy Metal", "Three Lock Box", and perhaps his best-known song "I Can't Drive 55", a gripe against the federally-imposed speed limit of 55 miles per hour on all U.S. highways. (The limit was increased on certain roads in 1987, and the law repealed in 1995; the song was updated for NASCAR broadcasts on NBC in 2001 to 65, and is used in NHL Rivals 2004.) During this time, his frequent appearance in his red attire in videos and in concert would lead up to his given trademark nickname of "The Red Rocker".

HSAS (1984)

In 1983-84 Sammy Hagar and Neal Schon formed the supergroup HSAS (Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve) along with former Foghat bassist Kenny Aaronson and former Santana drummer Michael Shrieve. HSAS did a small Christmas tour to benefit local charities and which released one album, "Through The Fire". As intended from its start, HSAS was a short-lived project. One song in particular, a cover of "Whiter Shade of Pale" received some airplay peaking at #94 on the Billboard Singles chart.

Van Halen years (1985 - 1996)

After parting ways with vocalist David Lee Roth, the remaining members of the band Van Halen contacted many potential replacements. Given Eddie's appreciation of Montrose and his car mechanic's suggestion, the band auditioned and quickly hired Hagar to fill the opening. With Hagar at the front, Van Halen produced four multi-platinum, #1 Billboard charting albums: "5150", "OU812", "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge", and "Balance", as well as many chart hits, including nine #1 Mainstream Rock hits. Yet, internal disputes eventually ensued, culminating in 1996. Hagar disagreed with the decision to record two new tracks on the "Twister" soundtrack, after the band had agreed to take time off after their 1995 world tour, and he maintained his dislike of a greatest hits record at that point in the band's career. These two items were pushed by Van Halen's new manager Ray Daniels, Alex Van Halen's brother-in-law, brought in after the death of their longtime manager Ed Leffler. Hagar wanted instead to record a new studio album, but only after Eddie, Alex, and Hagar's pregnant wife had all dealt with their respective medical issues. Although there are several versions of how the split occurred, Hagar has stated that the final straw came when he was with his wife in Hawaii, where they had arranged for a natural delivery of the baby (meaning outside of a hospital), and Eddie wanted him back in the studio. Hagar claimed to have flown to Los Angeles with his wife only to discover that she couldn't fly back to Hawaii. In the ensuing argument, he claims that he was fired. Eddie, on the other hand, says that Hagar quit. The end came when Eddie started to work with former lead singer David Lee Roth instead of Hagar, and two new songs were made with Roth for "Best of Volume I". When Van Halen again parted ways with Roth, instead of rehiring Hagar, the band hired a new singer, Gary Cherone.

olo again (1996 - 2002)

Hagar went on to produce several new solo records after parting ways with Van Halen in 1996. In 1999, Hagar formed a long term solo band, called The Waboritas, consisting again of David Lauser on drums, as well as former keyboardist Jesse Harms, and new to the mix was former Busboys guitarist Vic Johnson, and former Tommy Tutone bassist Mona Gnader.

Planet Us (2002 - 2003)

In 2002, with Van Halen still unreformed at this point, Hagar joined again with guitarists Neal Schon of Journey and later Joe Satriani to form a new side project called Planet Us. Along with Van Halen member Michael Anthony on bass and Deen Castronovo (also of Journey) on drums. Despite big intentions, the band only recorded two songs and played live a few times before dissolving when Hagar and Anthony rejoined Van Halen.

Van Halen reforms (2003 - 2005)

After the successful "Heavyweights of Rock" tour (2002), where he co-headlined with David Lee Roth, (and jokingly suggested the name the "Sans Halen Tour") Hagar started thinking about his former Van Halen bandmates, calling Alex in late 2003 from a tip by a mutual friend. In early 2004, Van Halen with Sammy Hagar was announced to the general public, culminating with a highly anticipated summer tour and a 2-CD Best Of album, entitled "Best of Both Worlds" featuring three new Van Halen tracks fronted by Hagar.

The subsequent tour brought on more problems, however, most notably Eddie Van Halen's alleged relapse into alcoholism, which resulted in a somewhat infamous final show in Tucson, Arizona. As the show ended, Eddie smashed his guitar on stage sending shrapnel into the audience. This caused tensions backstage after the show and eliminated the possibility of a new album. Hagar said in an interview that Eddie had changed and wasn't the same person anymore.

ammy and The Waboritas (2006 - present)

In 2005, Hagar continued to play with The Waboritas as he toured the Atlantic coast and the Midwest and added ex-Van Halen bass player Michael Anthony, calling the band "Los Tres Gusanos" (The Three Worms). In August of that year, Hagar went on another mini-tour starting at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan and then hitting the southwest before finishing at his own Cabo Wabo Cantina. Hagar's 2006 tour with The Waboritas also included a segment with Michael Anthony playing as a band called "The Other Half" (a reference to Sammy and Michael being the half of Van Halen that was not Van Halen by name) for a set of songs in the middle of the show, including both Hagar- and Roth-era tunes. The band also invited Kid Rock on stage at DTE Energy Theatre for a couple of songs, including covers of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" and The Beastie Boys' "You Gotta Fight For Your Right (To Party)". Hagar also released an album and DVD called "Livin' It Up! In St. Louis" with the Wabos on July 25 2006. Sammy has a longstanding and strong relationship with St. Louis. Often in concerts, Sammy can be seen wearing a red St. Louis Cardinals cap. Sammy has said that he credits St. Louis and the longtime rock radio station KSHE in St. Louis with helping to launch his professional career.

Hagar is currently developing a side project called "Chickenfoot" with Michael Anthony, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Joe Satriani, which will include a yet unnamed studio album release. Hagar has said the band has written 8 or 9 songs that sound like Led Zeppelin. The Supergroup plans to record an album in September and release it before the end of the year. [] [] Hagar also released new singles entitled "Open" and "I'm on a Roll" via digital providers.

In 2008, Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan said in an interview that he would like Hagar to be the replacement for lead singer Scott Weiland who left the band earlier in the year.

He is also rumored to be rehearsing and recording new material for a confirmed upcoming Led Zeppelin reunion tour that will possibly not include singer Robert Plant, but his contributions with the band have not yet been confirmed.

Business Interests

* Hagar owns a nightclub and restaurant in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico called Cabo Wabo Cantina, where the video for the 1999 hit song "Mas Tequila" (from the "Red Voodoo" album) was filmed. Hagar plays at the club during his annual autumn "Birthday Bash". Hagar has also opened another nightclub in the franchise in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and markets a highly successful line of premium tequilas by the same Cabo Wabo name. Cabo Wabo Cantina opened in Fresno CA on August 29, 2008. A future Cabo Wabo is planned to open in St. Louis, Missouri.
* It was announced on May 7, 2007 that Hagar was selling an 80% interest in his Cabo Wabo Tequila to Gruppo Campari, the world's seventh-largest spirits company, for $80 million. Skyy Spirits of San Francisco, a vodka producer and subsidiary of Milan's Gruppo Campari, will market Cabo Wabo globally, with continued participation by Hagar. Gerry Ruvo, president and chief executive of Skyy Spirits said "Sammy has done a fantastic job building the brand, so we are going to obviously spend time with him and work with him to continue our efforts to take the brand to an even larger level, both here in the U.S. and, more important, globally." Ruvo said Great Britain, Spain, Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan, Germany and Italy are considered key expansion markets for Tequila. Hagar created Cabo Wabo Tequila to serve patrons at his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He began to distribute it in 1999. Last year, his company sold 147,000 cases, making it the second-best-selling premium Tequila in the United States, he said in a telephone interview. [ [ Wild for Wabo: $80 million will lift Hagar's spirits] ] Cabo Wabo Enterprises, based in Novato, Calif., earned about $60 million in sales in 2007. [ [ Sammy Hagar's Tequila Supergroup] ]

Additional Biographical Notes

* The album "I Never Said Goodbye" was originally untitled, until MTV ran a contest to name the album. Future presses of the CD appeared with the new title.
* In 2002, Sammy Hagar was Commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel by Kentucky Governor Paul Patton.
* In 2007, Hagar starred in a number of National Automotive Parts Association ('NAPA') commercials with Nextel Cup drivers Michael Waltrip and Dale Jarrett. The campaign centers around Hagar's song "I Can't Drive 55", changing the words to "I Can't Drive the 55", a reference to Waltrip's car number 55.
* Hagar co-wrote two songs for Heart's "Brigade" Album.
* Hagar covered the Patti Smith song "Free Money" early in her career. In 2007, Smith and Van Halen were both inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "Free Money" was prominently featured in a video montage of Smith's performances. At the end of the induction show, Hagar jammed with Smith to her song "People Have the Power".
* Hagar was present at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, and he was in the VH1 documentary about Monterey, stating that it changed his life.Fact|date=July 2008
* Hagar holds the city record for selling more tickets in St. Louis than any other musical entertainer in St. Louis history. [ [ Sammy Hagar Plans Huge US Tour @ - 40 Top 20 & Top 40 Music Charts from 25 Countries ] ]
*Hagar penned the song "I've Done Everything For You", which appeared on Rick Springfield's 1981 album "Working Class Dog". Hagar used to introduce the song in concert by saying, "I wrote this song, but Rick Springfield had a hit with it because he's better looking."
*On May 23 2006, San Bernardino County California supervisors declared the day to be "Sammy Hagar Day". Hagar showed up at the county chamber with his mother, Gladys. He then gave a short speech, posed with commissioners for photos, embraced his mother, and left through a back door. [ [ San Bernadino County has 'Sammy Hagar Day'] ]



* "Montrose" (1973) RIAA: Platinum
* "Paper Money" (1974)

ammy Hagar - Solo

* "Nine On A Ten Scale" (1976)
* "Sammy Hagar" (1977) RIAA: Gold
* "Musical Chairs" (1977)
* "Street Machine" (1979)
* "Danger Zone" (1980)
* "Standing Hampton" (1981) RIAA: Platinum
* "Three Lock Box" (1982) RIAA: Gold
* "VOA" (1984) RIAA: Platinum
* "I Never Said Goodbye" (1987)
* "Marching To Mars" (1997)
* "Cosmic Universal Fashion" (2008)


* "Through The Fire" (1984) #42 US, #92 UK

Van Halen

* "5150" (1986) RIAA: 6x Platinum
* "OU812" (1988) RIAA: 4x Platinum
* "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" (1991) RIAA: 3x Platinum
* "" (1993) RIAA: 2x Platinum
* "Balance" (1995) RIAA: 3x Platinum
* "Best of Volume I" (1996) RIAA: 3x Platinum
* "Best of Both Worlds" (2004) RIAA: Platinum

ammy Hagar and the The Waboritas/Wabos

* "Red Voodoo" - Sammy Hagar and The Waboritas (1999) #22 US
* "Ten 13" - Sammy Hagar and The Waboritas (2000) #52 US
* "Not 4 Sale" - Sammy Hagar and The Waboritas (Oct 1, 2002) #181 US
* "" - Sammy Hagar and The Waboritas (May 2003) #152 US
* "Livin' It Up" - Sammy Hagar and The Wabos (2006) #50 US


* Untitled 2009 release

Compilations and live

* "All Night Long" -live (Sept. 1978) #89 US
* "Loud & Clear" (March 1980)
* "Rematch" (1982)
* "Live 1980" (1983)
* "Looking Back" (1986)
* "Rematch And More" (1987)
* "Live - Very Live In Concert" (1989)
* "Red Hot!" (1992) Taken from All Night Long & Live 1980
* "The Best Of Sammy Hagar" (1992)
* "Unboxed" (1994) #51 US RIAA: Gold
* "Anthology" (1995)
* "Turn Up the Music!" (1995)
* "The Best Of Sammy Hagar" (1999)
* "Very Best Of Sammy Hagar" (2001)
* "Classic Masters" (Oct 8, 2002)
* "Greatest Hits Live!" (Oct. 2003)
* "The Essential Red Collection" (2004) #76 US


* "Flamingos Fly" (1977)
* "Turn Up the Music" (1977)
* "You Make Me Crazy" (1977) #62 US
* "I've Done Everything For You" (1978)
* "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" (1979) #65 US
* "Heart Beat" (1979)
* "Straight to the Top" (1979)
* "Plain Jane" (1979) #77 US
* "I'll Fall in Love Again" (1982) #43 US
* "Piece of My Heart" (1982) #73 US, #67 UK
* "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy" (1983) #13 US
* "Never Give Up" (1983) #46 US
* "Whiter Shade of Pale" - as HSAS (1984) #94 US
* "Two Sides of Love" (1984) #38 US
* "I Can't Drive 55" (1984) #26 US
* "Winner Takes It All" (1987) #54 US
* "Give to Live" (1987) #23 US, #78 UK
* "Eagles Fly" (1987) #82 US
* "Little White Lie" (1997)
* "Marching to Mars" (1997)
* "Mas Tequila" (1999) #116 US
* "Serious Juju" (2000)
* "I'll Take You There" (2005)
* "Sam I Am" (2006)
* "Open" (2007)
* "I'm On A Roll" (2008)


* Cabo Wabo Birthday Bash Tour (2001)
* Long Road To Cabo (2003)
* Sammy and The Wabos: Livin' It Up In St. Louis (2007)


*cite journal |year=1997 |month=July/August |title=What Sammy Hagar Sez |journal=HM Magazine |id=ISSN|1066-6923 |issue=66 |pages= |url= |accessdate=2007-04-30

External links

* [ Official Sammy Hagar Website]
* [ Van Halen Store] Official Sammy Hagar, Cabo Wabo & Van Halen merchandise
* [ Van Halen News Desk] Sammy Hagar & Van Halen news
* [ The Number One Sammy Hagar Discography]
* [ Sammy Hagar] at the Internet Movie Database
* [ Sammy Hagar] at the All-Music Guide
* [ Sammy Hagar's Political Contributions]
* [ DVD Review of Livin' It Up! in St. Louis at Monsters and Critics]

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