Could Sammy Hagar Have Replaced Van Halen’s David Lee Roth in 1977?
Ted Templeman apparently had reservations about David Lee Roth well before Van Halen's celebrated 1978 debut album. That led him to briefly consider swapping Roth for Sammy Hagar, with whom Templeman had worked while producing Montrose.
"Ted told me that after he heard Roth sing in the studio in early 1977 on some demos commissioned by Warner Bros., he started having serious concerns about Roth's vocal ability – hence the flirtation with calling Hagar," Greg Renoff, author of the recently published Van Halen Rising, tells the Boston Herald. "But Ted made clear that this was nothing more than a thought that he toyed with for a few days in his own head."
Eight years later, Hagar would ultimately succeed Roth as frontman with Van Halen anyway, but not before the group had released six albums – all of which are now certified multi-platinum.
Roth worked hard to make sure he could remain with the original quartet for that impressive run up the charts, Renoff noted. The singer has since returned to the band, appearing with Van Halen onstage since 2006. In 2012, they regrouped for A Different Kind of Truth, their first studio record with Roth since 1984.
"Roth, as I document in the book, redoubled his efforts to improve his voice by taking vocal lessons in 1977," Renoff said. "The other key point is that Templeman says he knew that the other three never would have tolerated the idea of kicking Roth out for Hagar."
Well, not just yet anyway.
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