By the time Sammy Hagar joined Van Halen in 1985, the group already had six albums out and were one of the biggest bands in rock ‘n’ roll. However, when Hagar first joined, there was one song in particular from the David Lee Roth era of the band that he refused to sing.
Hagar recently made an appearance on Steve-O‘s Wild Ride! podcast, where he talked a lot about his time in the legendary group after Roth’s departure. The vocalist recalled that when he first became a member of Van Halen, they hardly performed any material from the Roth era while they were on tour, except for two songs — their cover of The Kinks‘ “You Really Got Me” and the massive “Jump,” from 1984.
“On the first tour, we did ‘You Really Got Me’… and we did [Hagar’s solo song] ‘There’s Only One Way to Rock,’ and we just did the whole first 5150 record. Then for an encore, we would play ‘Jump,’ but I would pull somebody out of the audience to sing it. I was an asshole, honestly. Guilty as charged,” Hagar admitted.
“I didn’t want to sing the songs because I thought ‘Jump’ was a silly song. I didn’t like the lyrics and I had a hard time standing up there going, ‘Can’t you see me standing here / I got my back against the record machine / You know what I mean?’,” the singer elaborated. “I had a hard time with it. I came from Montrose.”
Hagar noted that although he didn’t like the lyrics in “Jump,” he really liked a lot of other material from Van Halen’s catalog with Roth, especially songs such as “Unchained,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and “Runnin’ With the Devil.”
“Later on, I started getting a little bit more user-friendly, but then we had more albums so we didn’t need it,” he continued. “Eddie [Van Halen] was the one that didn’t want to play the catalog.”
READ MORE: Wolfgang Van Halen Claims Sammy Hagar Era of Van Halen ‘Doesn’t Get Any Respect’
According to Hagar, Warner Brothers suggested the band change their name to Van Hagar once he joined the band, which was an idea he wasn’t too keen on because he felt embarrassed by it. Eddie Van Halen also wanted to keep the name as it was. After 5150, they released another three albums with Hagar on vocals before he was fired from the group.
Watch the full podcast episode below.
The Van Halen Song Sammy Hagar Refused to Sing When He First Joined the Band
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