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Van Halen - 5150

A Sneak Peek...

And this time on the band "Van Hagar"....

No .. There is no such band, but there were those, including Warner Record Company, who offered to change the name of "Van Halen" after singer Sammy Hagar joined the band.

On March 24, 1986, "5150", the band's first album with Sammy Hagar was released. The album title refers Eddie Van Halen's private studio. "5150" is also the number of section in California law that allows the arrest of a person suspected of being mentally ill and a danger to the public.

The album jumped straight to number one on the US Billboard 200, surpassing even the band's previous album "1984", which only reached number two.

After parting ways with David Lee Roth "Van Helen" had a hard time finding a replacement to step into the shoes of the charismatic and popular singer. A long list of singers who had been considered as replacements for David Lee Roth was rejected by the band members, before Eddie Van Halen was referred to former "Montrose" singer Sammy Hagar, in July 1985. The one who told Eddie about Sammy, was the mechanic who worked on his Lamborghini. This time it was a match made in heaven and exactly what the band was looking for, so they immediately started working on new songs for the album.

The producer of the album is none other than Mick Jones guitarist and leader of "Foreigner".

This album has a different and special sound, probably a combination of Mick Jones' handprint, along with the refreshing addition of Sammy Hagar and the electronic drums and synthesizers of the eighties.

Five successful singles were released from the album.

"Why Can't This Be Love" was written by Eddie Van Halen on the "Oberheim OB-8" synthesizer he owned. A song with such words we probably would not have received from David Lee Roth, but works perfectly with Sammy Hagar. It was the band's first single with Sammy Hagar as lead singer. He took the band in a more mature, melodic, and of course commercial direction.

"Dreams" which is one of the most optimistic songs we know, was the second single released from the album. It is a song that motivates us to pursue our dreams and never give up. It is interesting to note that "Van Helen" refused to release music videos from the album "5150", so Warner recorded made a music video for this song using footage of the US Navy's "Blue Angels", performing a variety of aerial stunts. The cheap visual became a surprising hit on MTV and the U.S. Navy used it as part of their recruiting efforts.

The hit ballad "Love Walks In" is actually a song about aliens that can be interpreted as a metaphor for a new love. It was one of the first songs the band wrote together in its new lineup. Believe it or not, but Sammy Hagar is a big believer in alien theory and in his interview with Guitar magazine he stated: "I'm a firm believer - have seen, have felt, have been contacted three or four different times. I have received information that has been valuable in my life from those people, and they have used me. I'm gonna sound like a complete nut here, but they have used me in an experimental fashion. The easiest way to put it is that they downloaded my brain information. When I was about 19 or 20, they downloaded everything that was in my head. And I caught 'em doin' it! I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking, 'What's goin' on?' They were like, 'Oh, my god, he's waking up!' But this was all telepathy - there were no words being spoken. And as soon as I woke up - it was probably 3 o'clock in the morning - my whole room was so bright that I could hardly keep my eyes open. I was wide-awake, I could not move, eyes open, white room, they were still disconnecting - and when they did, it just went bang! Everything went back to normal, back to black. I was shaking, I almost passed out, I was sick to my stomach and almost had to throw up, it was so scary. It sent me on a course of curiosity. I bought a telescope, and I started reading UFO books, and I just got into the whole thing. And since then, there have been three or four other contacts with the same group of people. I don't know who the f--k they are, but I've narrowed them down to a people called The Nine, who are called that because they're from the Ninth Dimension. I've named my publishing company the Nine Music after them. It's a crazy thing, man. But to me, anyone who thinks we're the only ones here, despite the vastness of the entire universe, is f--king crazy. Those people gotta be put away - not the guys having these contacts".

The fourth single was "Best of Both Worlds", a song that Hagar wrote about the rosy future he was watching for "Van Helen" and himself. Interestingly, the band chose to crown its second compilation album, released in 2004, with the same title, as it included songs from the band's two main eras, David Lee Roth's and Sammy Hagar's.

The fifth and final single released from the album was "Summer Nights", which opened with Eddie's guitar intro. It was the first song Sammy Hagar recorded with "Van Helen" when he joined the band. Hagar recounts in his book "Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock": "We started playing, and the engineer Donn Landee recorded everything we did. I made up the first line on the spot: 'Summer nights and my radio.' It just popped into my head the first time I heard that riff. The rest of the song I scatted my way through. I really had my scat together. Eddie couldn't believe it. Dave apparently didn't have a good rhythm and wasn't a great singer, didn't have any range. I was singing Eddie's guitar licks with him".

The album sold over 6 million copies in the US alone, a quite handsome kickstart, especially considering that this is the band's second incarnation without its charismatic singer - David Lee Roth.

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