Sammy Hagar Biography

Samuel Roy Hagar, 13 October 1947, Monterey, California, USA. Hagar is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter whose father was a professional boxer. Legend has it that Elvis Presley persuaded him not to follow in his father’s footsteps, and instead he started out in 60s San Bernardino bands the Fabulous Castillas, Skinny, Justice Brothers and rock band Dust Cloud. He joined Montrose in 1973 (formed by ex-Edgar Winter guitarist Ronnie Montrose) and became a minor rock hero in the Bay Area of San Francisco, in particular acquiring a reputation as a potent live performer.

After two albums with Montrose, Hagar left to go solo, achieving a string of semi-successful albums and singles. He took with him Bill Church (bass) and added Alan Fitzgerald (keyboards), and later Denny Carmassi (drums, also ex-Montrose). The band attracted good press on support tours with Kiss, Boston and Kansas, but by 1979 Hagar had fashioned a radically altered line-up, with Gary Pihl (guitar), Chuck Ruff (drums) and Geoff Workman (keyboards) joining Hagar and Church. 1982’s Three Lock Box became their first US Top 20 entry, and included ‘Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy’, which reached number 13 in the singles chart. Hagar then took time out to tour with Journey guitarist Neal Schon, Kenny Aaronson (bass) and Michael Shrieve (drums, ex-Santana), recording a live album under the band’s initials HSAS. Under this title they also cut a studio version of Procol Harum’s ‘Whiter Shade Of Pale’. Returning to solo work, Hagar enjoyed a US Top 30 hit in 1984 with ‘I Can’t Drive 55’.

In 1985, Hagar surprised many by joining Van Halen, from whom Dave Lee Roth had recently departed. However, he continued to pursue a parallel, if intermittent, solo career which continues to be characterized by a refreshing lack of bombast in a genre not noted for its subtlety. Hagar left Van Halen in a cloud of bad publicity in 1996. The following year’s solo album Marching To Mars sold respectfully and helped the singer overcome the fallout from his Van Halen exit. Hagar continues to tour and record with his band the Waboritas, and co-runs the Cabo Wabo club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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