|After more than two decades of playing sold-out
concert halls, selling millions of albums and
enduring various lineup changes and solo projects,
Van Halen is recognized as one of the most
resilient and successful rock bands to emerge from
Eddie and Alex Van Halen were raised in
Pasadena, the children of Dutch immigrants who
immigrated to California in 1967. The Van Halen
brothers grew up taking classical piano lessons,
switching to guitar (Eddie) and drums (Alex) as
teenagers. In 1974, they hooked up with David Lee
Roth (vocals) and Michael Anthony (bass), while
gigging around town in their band Mammoth. Within
a few years, they had become one of the most
popular draws on the Los Angeles scene. Fans
packed L.A.'s smoky rock clubs to check out
Eddie's unconventional guitar riffs and Roth's
The band got a break in 1976 when Kiss bassist
Gene Simmons noticed them at a local club and
financed a recording session for the band. On the
strength of Simmons' recommendation, as legend has
it, Van Halen was signed to Warner Bros.
Their debut album, Van Halen, was
released in 1978 and included the hit singles
"Runnin' With the Devil" and a cover of
the Kinks' "You Really Got Me." Eddie
Van Halen took electric guitar technique to new
heights with his patented two-handed tapping and
pull-off effects, while Roth's tongue-in-cheek
histrionics proved to be a refreshing alternative
in an industry chock full of self-important rock
Within six months of its release, Van Halen
was certified platinum. The album not only
launched Van Halen's career, but it came to
influence countless American rock bands during the
During the next few years, Van Halen became one
of the hardest working and most profitable bands
in the recording industry, releasing a string of
multi-platinum albums in quick succession; 1979's Van
Halen II, 1980's Women and Children First,
1981's Fair Warning and 1982's Diver
But it was the album 1984, released on
New Year's Day of that year, that solidified the
band's superstar status. The album contained the
mega-hits "Jump," "Panama" and
"Hot For Teacher," with their
accompanying raucous videos that received
seemingly non-stop airplay on MTV.
All was not well within the band, however.
Rising tensions between Roth and the other band
members were increasingly evident; on their 1984
world tour the band didn't even play on the same
stage, but rather performed on four separate
platforms, symbolic of the escalating rift among
its members. Finally, in 1985, after taking time
off to record a successful solo album (and
delaying work on the follow-up to 1984)
Roth parted ways with Van Halen.
Mammoth kicks Mark Stone out of the band. Michael Anthony endures a rigorous
audition in a Pasadena, CA, garage and accepts an invitation to join the band,
quitting his band, Snake, in the process. The quartet decides to change their
name because Mammoth is already in use by another band. They pass on Rat Salad
to adopt David Lee Roth's suggestion: Van Halen.
April 4: Van Halen becomes a regular act at Gazarri's in West Hollywood, CA, a
breakthrough that gets them out of the backyard party scene.
May 17: Robin "Ruby" Leiren become's Ed's first guitar tech after
listening to Ed's various band incarnations at Marshall Junior High School.
May: Van Halen is "discovered" by Gene Simmons at the Starwood in Los
Angeles, CA. They record a demo at Village Recorder Studios in Los Angeles. Two
guitar solos are later recorded at Electric Ladyland Studios in New York, where
Eddie has his first exposure to overdubbing, a technique that he feels is very
uncomfortable. While in New York, the band performs using KISS's equipment for
S.I.R.'s Bill Aucion, who passes to sign the band Piper because he sees no
commercial potential in the fledgling Van Halen.
May: On a rainy Monday night, Van Halen is "rediscovered" by Ted
Templeman and Mo Ostin at the Starwood. Unbeknownst to the band, Templeman has
also scouted them out the night before. They later recorded a twenty-five song
demo from which they will pick nine songs for their first album, Van Halen.
February 10: Van
Halen is released.
May 24: Van
Halen is certified gold.
July 23: Edward Van Halen gives his first interview for a national magazine:
October 10: Van
Halen is certified platinum.
December 10: Van Halen enters the studio to begin recording Van
March 23: Van
Halen II is released.
April 3: Van
Halen II is certified gold.
May 8: Van
Halen II is certified platinum.
February: David Lee Roth forms the Jungle Studs, a group of 14 adventurers
consisting of lawyers, accountants, and doctors (Dave is the only musician).
They make annual treks that include kayaking Alaskan rivers and climbing
mountains in Nepal.
March 26: Women
And Children First is released.
May: While filming a performance for Italian television at the Piper Club in
Rome, Italy, David Lee Roth executes a flying leap from Alex Van Halen's drum
riser and hits a low-hanging lighting rig, fracturing his nose and giving
himself a minor concussion.
May 29: Women
And Children First is certified gold.
June 2: Women
And Children First is certified platinum.
December 31: Edward Van Halen proposes to Valerie Bertinelli with an $8,000
emerald-cut diamond ring.
April 11: Edward Van Halen weds Valerie Bertinelli at St. Paul the Apostle
Church in Westwood, CA.
April 29: Fair
Warning is released.
July 7: Fair
Warning is certified gold.
November 18: Fair
Warning is certified platinum.
April 14: Diver
Down is released.
June 26-27: Van Halen holds rehearsals in Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope
Studios in Hollywood, CA, in preparation for the Hide Your Sheep tour.
October 15: Edward Van Halen's left wrist is x-rayed at Hand Surgery Associates
in New York, NY. A fracture is found that results in the cancellation of three
shows on the Diver Down tour.
October 22: Van Halen Day is declared by Mayor Sara Robertson in Worchester, MA,
after WAAF Radio sponsors a 25,000-signature petition to get the band to add a
third show at The Centrum.
March: The 5150 Studio is built. It begins as a forty-foot-long room with an
adjustable ceiling height of up to 18 feet.
April 20: Edward Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli sign paperwork to lease Marvin
Hamlisch's Malibu, CA, beach house for the summer of 1983.
Summer: Edward Van Halen writes and records "Strung Out" and three
instrumentals for The Seduction of Gina, a movie-of-the-week starring Valerie
Bertinelli, at Hamlisch's beach house.
January 9: 1984
February 25: "Jump" begins a five-week peak at #1 on the U.S.
Billboard's Singles chart.
March 12: 1984
is certified gold and platinum.
March 17: 1984
begins a four-week peak at #2 on Billboard's Top LP chart.
October 22: Van
Halen is certified platinum fives times over. Van
Halen II is certified triple platinum. Women
And Children First is certified double platinum.
October 24: 1984
is certified platinum four times over.
December 31: David Lee Roth releases his first solo album, Crazy From The Heat.
January 23: 1984
is certified platinum fives times over.
April 1: David Lee Roth leaves Van Halen (unofficially on April Fool's Day).
July 22: Van Halen enters the studio with David Lee Roth to begin recording
material for Best
Of Volume 1.
August 7: Van
Halen is certified platinum ten times over.
August 8: 1984
is certified platinum nine times over.
September 4: Van Halen with David Lee Roth appears on the MTV Video Music Awards
and presents the award for Best Male Video to Beck. The reunited quartet
receives a standing ovation from the shocked and delighted crowd. At the
backstage press conference, emotions flare as Ed and Dave argue about answers to
give the reporters. Frustrated with the reporters' questions, Ed attempts to set
the record straight saying that the only thing happening between the band and
Dave at the time is the Best
Of Volume 1 project. Dave's reaction reportedly leads the rest of the band
to consider never working with Dave again.
October 5: Ed, Al, and Mike are presented with an Outstanding Contribution to
Music award at the 1996 Foundations Forum at the Palladium in Hollywood, CA.
They are also presented platinum awards for surpassing the 10-millon-sales mark
October 22: Best
Of Volume 1 is released.
October 29: Video
Hits Volume 1 (VHS) is released.