1986 Van Halen – Love Walks In
Friction between David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen had grown while the band (Van Halen) grew increasingly successful. David finally left the group in 1985 and began work on a solo career.
Eddie searched around for a replacement and offered the job to several artists who turned him down. Patty Smyth was happy with her solo career and eight months pregnant, so it did not seem like the right time to her. He discussed Daryl Hall was offered the job after Eddie saw a Hall and Oates concert in 1985, but he continued working with John Oates while also releasing solo material.
Eddie’s Ferrari mechanic also worked on Sammy Hagar’s car, and he introduced the two. Sammy had just had the hit I Can’t Drive 55 and a successful tour. The two quickly decided he was a good fit for the band.
Van Halen and Sammy were each scheduled to perform at Farm Aid in September 1985 (Hall & Oates also performed at that Farm Aid).
Unfortunately for viewers watching the concert on the Country Music Channel, Sammy’s language became offensive enough that the channel cut away from their performance and reran tapes from earlier in the day.
After announcing Sammy’s membership in the group, the band finished and released the album 5150 in March 1986.
The first single from the album, Why Can’t This Be Love, reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart.
The second single from the album reached #6 on the Mainstream Rock chart but stalled at only #22 on the Hot 100. The group created a video for Dreams using a live performance at the Whiskey A Go Go in 1993.
The first song the band wrote with Sammy was Love Walks In, which became the third single from 5150. Sammy has claimed that aliens have contacted him multiple times, and he wrote the lyrics of the song about his interactions with the aliens. Eddie played both keyboards and guitar on the studio recording.
The single also reached #22 on the Hot 100 but did slightly better on the Mainstream Rock Chart, where it reached #4.
Sammy stayed with the band through 1996 and rejoined them from 2003 to 2005. The band had more hit records with Sammy singing lead than they did with David Lee Roth: Sammy had 9 top forty hits on the Hot 100 to David’s 7. On the Mainstream Rock Chart, Sammy initially had 23 top forty singles to David’s initial 13; each of them had two more hits on that chart (but no additional Hot 100 hits) during their later reunions with the group.
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