The "Red Rocker" Sammy Hagar celebrates his birthday today and this is a good opportunity to tell you some facts about him:
(Photo: Matt Becker)
1. He was born on October 13, 1947, in Salinas, California. His full name is Samuel Roy Hagar.
2. His father - Bobby Hagar was an alcoholic boxer who used to spend his wages on alcohol and abuse his wife and children.
3. When he was 10 years old he left home together with his mother, 2 sisters, and brother and since then he started working odd jobs to help support the family.
4. He taught himself to play the guitar he bought for $40 from a Sears catalog.
5. He founded his first band - "The Fabulous Castilles" when he was only 14 years old.
6. One of his defining moments was in 1965, when he was 17 years old and snuck into a "Rolling Stones" concert.
7. In 1967, Sammy released his first single which included the songs "Reach Out to Find Me" and "Read My Thoughts". He released it as part of the duo Samson & Hagar.
8. Until 1973 Sammy would replace several bands "Big Bang", "Skinny", "Dustcloud", "Cotton Jimmy", "Manhole" and "the Justice Brothers", which was the house band of a bar called "The Nightclub" in San Bernardino.
9. In 1973 he joined "Montrose" - Ronnie Montrose's band, as lead singer.
10. Their debut eponymous album, included among others the single "Bad Motor Scooter", which Hagar wrote solely.
11. Hagar will leave the band in 1975, after the release of the second album "Paper Money" (1974), some say due to tensions created by his wild guitar playing style.
12. In 1976 he released his first solo album "Nine on a Ten Scale", in which his "Montrose" bandmate, bassist Bill Church, participated, among others.
13. The opening song of his second album from 1977, named "Sammy Hagar", is called "Red". The song that became a hit, along with the red album cover, the red car that appears on it, Sammy's red guitar, and red pants, led to his nickname the "Red Rocker".
14. During his solo career, Hagar also wrote songs that became hits for other artists, most notably Rick Springfield's hit, "I've Done Everything for You." Singer Bette Midler also recorded two of Hagar's songs, "Keep on Rockin" and "Red".
15. In 1982 Hagar released his sixth album "Standing Hampton" which was his most successful up to that point and included five singles that entered the charts, including the hit "Heavy Metal" which was also used as the theme song from the film of the same name and was also included in the film's soundtrack.
16. His 1984 eighth album "VOA" included his biggest hit of his solo career "I Can't Drive 55". The song was so successful that it was included in the setlists of "Van Halen" concerts after Hagar joined the band.
17. In the same year, Hagar founded the supergroup "HSAS" in which guitarist Neal Schon, bassist Kenny Aaronson and drummer Michael Shrieve (known among others from the band "Santana"), were members. They released the album "Through the Fire" in 1984.
18. In 1985, after "Van Halen" parted ways with David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen was referred to Sammy Hagar as the one to replace Lee Roth. The one who referred Eddie to Sammy was the mechanic who worked on his Lamborghini.
19. It is interesting to note, that Eddie Van Halen was a fan of "Montrose" and that the producer of "Montrose" and Hagar was Ted Templeman who also produced "Van Halen".
20. Hagar's first album with "Van Halen" - "5150" was released in 1986. The album jumped straight to first place on the American Billboard 200, overtaking the band's previous album "MCMLXXXIV (1984)" which only came in second place.
21. The album included, among others, the hit "Love Walks In" which, completely contrary to everything you thought, was written about "aliens".
22. Believe it or not, but Sammy Hagar is a big believer in the alien theory, and in his interview with Guitar magazine he stated that he strongly believes he saw and felt them, he claims they contacted him in three or four different times and downloaded information from his brain.
24. The album "OU812" includes the song "Cabo Wabo" whose melody, Sammy borrowed from the song "Make It Last", which he composed for his previous band "Montrose".
25. Later on, Sammy will also name his bar in Mexico as well as his tequila line "Cabo Wabo".
26. This is a handmade tequila that until 2006 was the second best-selling premium tequila in the United States.
27. In 2007 Hagar sold 80% of his rights in "Cabo Wabo" to "Gruppo Campari" for 80 million dollars. In doing so, he made more money in one day than in his entire music career.
28. Three years later, Hagar sold the remaining 20% for an additional 11 million dollars.
29. At the same time as his membership in "Van Halen", Hagar continued his solo career and published in 1987 his ninth solo album "I Never Said Goodbye". The album included his first number-one hit on the Billboard charts "Give to Live".
27. Internal disputes eventually led to Hagar's departure from "Van Halen" in June 1996. There are several versions as to the reason that led to his departure, among them the fact that Eddie demanded that he will come to California to record while he was staying with his wife in Hawaii and awaiting their planned birth there. Another version refers to the fact that Eddie recorded two new songs with David Lee Roth, for the compilation album "Best Of – Volume I".
28. Already in 1997 Hagar published his 10th solo album "Marching to Mars".
29. In 1998 Hagar participated in an episode of Don Johnson's "Nash Bridges" series. He played bartender.
30. In 1999 Hagar released his 11th solo album "Red Voodoo" which for the first time included his backing band "the Waboritas", which included guitarist Vic Johnson.
31. In 2000 Hagar released his 12th solo album - "Ten 13", whose title is actually his date of birth.
32. At the same time as his solo career, Hagar founded the supergroup "Los Tres Gusanos" together with drummer David Lauser, and bassist Michael Anthony his bandmate from "Van Halen".
33. This was not the last supergroup in which Sammy would be involved. In 2002, he joined "Planet Us" with guitarist Neal Schon, bassist Michael Anthony, and drummer Deen Castronovo. Later Joe Satriani will also join the band.
34. The band only recorded two songs and toured briefly before disbanding, when Hagar and Anthony returned to their mother band "Van Halen" for a 2002 reunion.
35. In 2005 Sammy returned to work with his backing band "The Waboritas" and this time also included Michael Anthony. The tour also included a segment of him and Anthony in a band called "The Other Half" with a reference to Hagar and Anthony being half of "Van Halen".
37. The supergroup's debut album "Chickenfoot" was released in June 2009 and reached number 4 on the Billboard chart. After a short tour, the second album, "Chickenfoot III" was released, in 2011.
38. In 2014 Hagar formed another supergroup called "The Circle", with bassist Michael Anthony, guitarist Vic Johnson, and drummer Jason Bonham.
39. Sammy will release three albums with the band - "Space Between" in 2019, "Lockdown 2020" in 2021, and "Crazy Times" in 2022.
40. In 2022 "Megadeth" recorded a cover version of the song "This Planet's on Fire (Burn in Hell)" taken from his fourth album "Street Machine" from 1979. Hagar will participate in the recording on vocals and this cover will be included in the expanded version of Megadeth's 16th album " The Sick, the Dying... and the Dead!".
41. It is interesting to note, that musicians Brad Delp, Barry Goudreau, and Sib Hashian from "Boston" will participate in the recording of the song "Falling in Love" taken from the same album - "Street Machine".
42. Sammy considers himself a gourmet chef, and claims to have cooked for famous chefs such as Emeril Lagasse and Mario Batali.
43. Hagar also published two books. His autobiography, "Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock" and a cookbook called "Are We Having Any Fun Yet - The Cooking & Partying Handbook".
44. In 2007 he entered the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" together with "Van Halen".