The Van Halen tour Sammy Hagar wanted to walk out on

Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen

Sammy Hagar has always been a consummate professional whenever he took the stage. Whether fronting his band or performing with Van Halen, Hagar always went above and beyond to give his fans what they wanted. Even if it meant repeatedly putting his vocal cords through their paces. Regardless of Hagar’s pedigree behind the microphone, one tour nearly resulted in him abandoning his fans entirely.

However, for the first half of his career, Hagar’s greatest opportunities came at the expense of his fans. While having his car serviced, Hagar learned from his mechanic that Van Halen had lost David Lee Roth and suggested the ‘Red Rocker‘ as a possible replacement for the iconic frontman.

The addition of Hagar seemed like an odd fit at the time. But he fit right in when it came time to write with Eddie Van Halen. Hagar could sing ballads as well as rockers. He also brought a strong sense of musicianship to the band, lending his guitar skills to a few tracks.

By the time Hagar had been with the band for a decade, he began to feel that the band needed a break. He was called to work on the song ‘Humans Being’ one more time. But Hagar felt he couldn’t work with the band again, opting to focus on his solo career for the next few years.

Hagar would never collaborate on an album with the band again. He would, however, contribute his talents to the odd track here and there. He worked on a handful of songs to promote the band’s various greatest hits packages. Sammy Hagar had never been on the same creative wavelength as the band in their prime. So Van Halen’s management convinced him to give it one more shot with the band in 2004.

But by the time Hagar saw Eddie, he realized he’d gotten himself into trouble. In comparison to the free-spirited creative entity he had worked with, Eddie’s health had taken a hit in recent years. It caused him to have missing teeth.

In the past, Hagar thought it would have been better if he had walked out on his fans for his integrity. He said, “[Eddie] had turned into the weirdest f*** I had ever seen, crude, rude, and unkempt.” I should’ve walked, but Eddie has a very sharp, cunning side to him that makes you think he has a good heart. He’s going to show up, and we’re going to finish this thing.”

While Eddie would eventually recover, the Van Hagar lineup would never perform together again. Eddie would end his career on his terms. He released the album A Different Kind of Truth before committing to one final tour in 2015 before his untimely death in 2020. It was with Roth behind the microphone and Wolfgang Van Halen on bass. Hagar has been looking out for his best interests. But this performance highlights one of Van Halen’s darkest chapters on the road.

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