Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sammy Hagar--Your Love is Driving Me Crazy (1982)

     The quintessential Californian rocker, Sammy Hagar's career has spanned four decades which includes roles in two top bands of their respective decades, as well as an impressive solo career. He was born in Salinas,  California,, but his family soon moved to Fontana where he grew up.
     Sammy played in a number of bands starting in 1967, until joining the band Montrose in 1973. He stayed there three years (73-75), until leaving after a dispute with Ronnie Montrose. However, this gave him his first taste of success and a couple of members of this group also left and became part of Hagar's backing band.
     This lead to his first solo success from 1976 to 1984. He began plowing the hard rock ground that was established with Montrose. "Your Love is Driving Me Crazy" was his best showing on the charts, reaching #13 in the winter of 1983. He had three other top 40 songs in his career to this point, but has had moderate success with other songs throughout. His credentials and appeal to the hard rock crowd has continued unabated.
     For many of a younger vintage, he is best known as the lead singer for Van Halen for 11 years. For 80's hard rock aficionados, debate has always raged about which version of Halen was better, the David Lee Roth version, or the Sammy Hagar. For me, they are both great, but two different kinds of bands. Roth's version was more playful, but the spotlight was (in his mind) Roth's alone, which of course caused the friction between the real star (Eddie and his guitar) and the lead singer. This made for some epic music, but it also paved the way for Roth's exit. For my money, Hagar's version of the group was a much more interesting one musically, but that perhaps had more to do with the group stretching out a bit more. I've personally always like Hagar's voice anyway.
     After his stint with VH, he began mixing a solo career with other group work, such as Los Tres Gusanos, Planet Us, Sammy and the Waboritas, and Chickenfoot. He is probably best known now for his businesses. He has a couple of restaurants in Las Vegas and St. Louis where all profits go to local charities, a couple of mountain bike shops in California, and of course Cabo Wabo Tequila.


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