Van Halen is in this week’s JACK FM Artist Spotlight!  Their long-awaited new studio album is rumored to be coming early in 2012, which is when the band is also expected to tour in support of the effort.

[lastfm]Van Halen [/lastfm]is an international hard rock band formed in the early-1970s, originally called [lastfm]Mammoth[/lastfm] (before being called Van Halen, one of the band’s ideas for a name was Rat Salade). The band’s first studio album, “Van Halen”, released in 1978 is widely regarded as a milestone in rock music. With this first release, the band, featuring [lastfm]David Lee Roth [/lastfm]on vocals, [lastfm]Michael Anthony[/lastfm] on bass, and Dutch-born [lastfm]Edward Van Halen [/lastfm]on guitars (and also keyboards later) and brother [lastfm]Alex Van Halen [/lastfm]on drums, established itself as a leader in the emerging and commercially successful U.S. heavy metal music genre of the 1980s. In particular, [lastfm]Eddie Van Halen [/lastfm]quickly gained widespread notoriety for his technical prowess and musical sensibility. Almost overnight, he was touted as one of the most innovative and influential American rock and roll guitarists.

From 1978 to 1998 the band released 11 studio albums (with David Lee Roth until 1984, Sammy Hagar from 1986 to 1995 and Gary Cherone from 1998 to 1999), all of which broke the Top 20 spot of the Billboard 200 music charts. Their biggest hit, “Jump”, never made it to #1 as Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” always held that spot (incidently, this song includes one of the most memorables guitar solos by Eddie, who refused to appear in the video as he expected the song would never become a hit). The band has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide and has received several Grammy nominations, winning the award with their 1991 album “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge”. The video for “Right Now” also received several awards, including MTV’s Best Video award. Van Halen is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records with the most number one hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock List. According to the Recording Industry Association of America Van Halen is #19 on the list of Top Selling Artists of all time (having sold more than 56 million albums in the U.S.). Van Halen is one of five rock groups that have had 2 albums sell more than 10 million albums in the U.S. (the others being: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Eagles and Def Leppard).

In addition to being recognized for their artistic contributions, commercial success and popularity, the band is known for drama surrounding the lead singer spot (in Edward’s words, LSD meaning Lead Singer Disease). Although the core instrumentalists and backing vocals have remained constant (Edward, Alex and Mike) until 2004, the band has recorded studio albums with three different lead vocalists: David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone. Each vocalist has departed (at least once) under cloudy circumstances. Following their 2004 concert tour the band entered a hiatus phase broken in 2007 with the announcement of a long awaited reunion with David Lee Roth, twenty-two years after the band parted ways with the flamboyant frontman…

On March 12, 2007, the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at a ceremony held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar were the only inductees who attended the ceremony. Michael Anthony made a point of thanking the band’s third singer, Gary Cherone, who was not inducted. That night, Velvet Revolver played a medley of two VH songs (mostly “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love” and a small part of the intro to “Best Of Both Worlds”) to represent the absent members of the band, which was followed by Anthony and Hagar playing “Why Can’t This Be Love” with Paul Schaffer. Afterwards, at a press conference, Hagar said that he would love to work with Van Halen again. He also said that he hopes the band would do a “Dave reunion” with Roth first.

Present members:
[lastfm]David Lee Roth [/lastfm]- lead vocals (1974-1985, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2006-present)
[lastfm]Eddie Van Halen [/lastfm]- lead & rhythm guitars, keyboards, backing vocals (1972-present)
[lastfm]Wolfgang Van Halen[/lastfm] – bass guitar (2006-Present)
[lastfm]Alex Van Halen [/lastfm]- drums (1972-present)

Note: David Lee Roth joined the band twice in 2000, though neither tenure was a success , possibly because of dominant behaviour of DLR.

Former members:
[lastfm]Mark Stone [/lastfm]- bass guitar (1972-1974)
[lastfm]Michael Anthony [/lastfm]- bass guitar, backing vocals (1974-2005)
[lastfm]Sammy Hagar[/lastfm] – lead vocals, rhythm & lead guitars (1985-1996, 2003-2005)
[lastfm]Mitch Malloy [/lastfm]- lead vocals (1996, demo work only)
[lastfm]Gary Cherone [/lastfm]- lead vocals (1996-1999)



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