Sammy Hager Looks Back On Van Halen’s 5150 Album

Sammy Hagar has released a two-and-a-half-minute video in which he reflects on the VAN HALEN album “5150”, which was released 33 years ago — on March 24, 1986.

“The VAN HALEN era, the ‘Van Hagar’ era, for me, was really unique, because on the first tour, on the ‘5150’ tour, we didn’t play anybody else’s songs, except one of mine — we played ‘[There’s Only] One Way To Rock’ — and we played ‘You Really Got Me’,” Hagar said. “And then, for an encore, we played ‘Jump’. But the rest, the whole set, was all brand new songs from ‘5150’ that they’d never heard, and it was like every song was a hit. For some reason, that was a whole different era. By then, by the ‘Van Hagar’ era, in 1985, ’86, ’87, people like myself and Ted Nugent and VAN HALEN, the previous version, we went out and did shows where it almost didn’t matter what freakin’ song we played, and that’s no joke. I mean, the way I performed in the ’80s, and guys like Ted Nugent performed in the ’80s, you could go out there and play ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ when you’re jumping off of amplifiers and busting guitars up and setting things on fire. So it became a different thing. But playing the ‘Van Hagar’ era now with another band like THE CIRCLE, it seems like no matter what song we play, it’s a hit as soon as you kick it off. ‘Best Of Both Worlds’ was never a single, [but] the audience is singing like it was a No. 1 hit. They don’t sing anymore with a No. 1 hit, ‘Why Can’t This Be Love’ It’s like they’re all hits — it’s awesome — and they really, really work live. And when I’m standing on stage with THE CIRCLE or anyone singing those songs, I really feel the magic of the moment when we wrote those songs. It’s really good stuff. And like I said, somebody, ‘s gotta play it. I’m happy to. [Laughs] It seems like I’ve inherited the ‘Van Hagar’ era — Mikey [bassist Michael Anthony] and I — so we’ll serve it.”

“5150” shocked the world, proving that VAN HALEN could not only survive the departure of David Lee Roth, but thrive, with the band taking the album to No. 1 on the charts on the strength of smash hits like “Why Can’t This Be Love”“Best Of Both Worlds”“Dreams” and “Love Walks In”.

‘Love Walks In’ has a real story to it,” noted Hagar. “One night after everybody left, Eddie[Van Halen] said, ‘Let me just play you something I’ve got on this piano.’ He goes to the piano and starts playing, and I went, ‘I love that.’ I had goosebumps. So I actually wrote the lyrics and did the whole thing that night on a cheap mic. That was used on the record, and everybody else overdubbed. Things happen like that. And there’s nothing you can do to make it better.”

“He sang all the backups,” added Hagar of VAN HALEN‘s secret weapon and keeper of the peace Michael Anthony. “Mike is the background sound of VAN HALEN — he would sing the high parts. You take Mike out, you don’t have the VAN HALEN sound.”

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