Top 10 Sammy Hagar Songs
Despite the flack he takes, there’s more great Sammy Hagar songs than you might think, even if you subtract his amazingly fruitful decade as the second lead singer of Van Halen. The following list focuses on his solo work, with one notable exception, and reveals an earnest, positive-thinking, fun-loving guy who just wants to rock. Oh, and drive really fast. Here is Ultimate Classic Rock’s list of the Top 10 Sammy Hagar Songs:
‘Little White Lie’
After 11 years together, Sammy Hagar was understandably shocked to find his Van Halen bandmates recording with their former lead singer David Lee Roth. He went back to being a solo artist and spent his next album, 1997’s ‘Marching to Mars,’ telling his former friends just where to stick it, especially on this textured, steadily escalating blast of righteous anger.
Ever wonder why Sammy Hagar, a blonde, is known as the “Red Rocker?” Well, much like Jack White of the White Stripes decades later, Sammy decided early his his career that he just plain likes the color. So much so that he wrote a song about it for 1977’s ‘Sammy Hagar,’ and used a picture of a city block painted entirely in crimson as the cover for the album.
‘Bad Motor Scooter’
Before he was a solo artist, Sammy was the lead singer for the band Montrose, whose 1973 debut album, featuring this, the first song Hagar ever wrote, is considered an influential hard-rock masterpiece. Five years later, Van Halen chose the same producer and engineer who worked on ‘Montrose’ to produce their debut album (with Roth) because they loved the sound of this album.
‘Your Love is Driving Me Crazy’
After spending nearly a decade climbing to the top of the rock heap, the Red Rocker scored his first and so far only Top 20 hit, this poppy, radio-friendly lovey-dovey Sammy Hagar song from 1983’s ‘Three Lock Box.’ The catchy tune also showed he wasn’t afraid of keyboards, which would come in handy a few years later when he joined up with Van Halen.
Truth be told, this song from 1981’s ‘Standing Hampton,’ which, yes, is British slang for an erection, is more hard rock than heavy metal. However, it does feature some kick-ass riffs, and Sammy shows that maybe he doesn’t need to lean on all those famous guitarists, turning in a more than suitable solo as the song builds to its shout-along climax.
‘Three Lock Box’
OK, he’s prone to the occasional dick joke or clumsy double entendre like any rocker, but this song is not some coded reference to a woman’s anatomy. Instead, it’s about achieving a combination of mental, physical and spiritual balance. No, really. Actually, a quick read through Sammy’s lyrics over the years reveals this Bay Area boy is somewhat of a peace and love hippie.
After joining Van Halen, Sammy still had some solo obligations to finish up. Step 1: Beat Sly Stallone in arm wrestling. Step 2: Recruit Edward Van Halen to join his solo band on bass, and record what was expected to be his final solo album, 1987’s ‘I Never Said Goodbye,’ featuring this alternatively dreamy and soaring anthem, still a live audience favorite.
Yeah, it’s a rewrite of Gary Glitter’s ‘Rock and Roll (part 2),’ but Sammy gave him credit, then added his own lyrics, melody and inimitable party spirit. You could say the Van Halen brothers could do better, but then, why haven’t they? Since the 1996 split, Sammy’s put out seven albums, you really think Van Halen’s only record without him, ‘III’ is better than any of them?
‘There’s Only One Way to Rock’
If it weren’t for the song you all know is coming up at No. 1, this Sammy Hagar song would more than fit the bill as the head-banging, career-defining statement of purpose for any rock hero. Played at nearly every Sammy-fronted Van Halen concert, usually with a killer guitar duel featuring the admittedly overmatched Hagar gamely battling resident genius Eddie Van Halen. Oh yeah, and the Beastie Boys totally nicked this riff.
‘I Can’t Drive 55′
The inspiration for this amazingly direct blast of highway safety rebellion from 1984’s ‘VOA’ reportedly came to the horsepower-obsessed Hagar as he was getting, no s—, a speeding ticket. Years later, when the speed limit was increased in many parts of the country, some smart politician let Sammy change one of the first signs for a victorious photo opportunity.