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Wolfgang Van Halen Ends The Best Van Halen Singer Debate

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In a recent interview, Wolfgang Van Halen discussed his preference for David Lee Roth above Sammy Hagar as the greatest Van Halen vocalist as part of the Amoeba Music “What’s In My Bag?” series.

The leader of Mammoth WVH listed Van Halen’s “The Collection II” 5-LP box set as one of his favorite albums from the group. It contains all four of the “Van Hagar” studio albums as well as an additional disc of rare studio recordings. He also discussed his thoughts on the argument between Hagar and Roth, saying:

“Not to delve into the exhausting argument of which singer is better, I’m kind of ‘of the mind’ where there’s positives in everything. And if you hate one side or the other, it’s like, ‘Hey, the same guy wrote this stuff.’ You can really find stuff to appreciate.”

Praise For Sammy Hagar’s Contribution

He continued to commend Sammy for adding melodic aspects to the band’s song, stating:

“And I really appreciate the melodic addition that Sammy added to the band with this music. I think it allowed my dad to explore a more melodic style of songwriting, and there’s great stuff on here.”

Continued Comparisons Post-Van Halen

The analogies between DLR and Hagar continue even after Van Halen broke up, along with some additional observations from other musicians. Nuno Bettencourt talked about his comparison of the Hagar and Roth eras in a September interview with May The Rock Be With You. He noted:

“I actually put together a musicians list, I went through every Van Halen album, and I apologize for saying this to anybody that’s gonna get offended, but going through the Dave era for me, because Sammy’s a great friend of mine as well, that new era Van Halen is a whole other thing -which by the way I was obsessed with and listened to it- but as a player and as a kid, the Dave era is in my f*cking bloodstream. That’s the difference. I was listening to other stuff where that other sh*t raised me as a kid.”

In the past, Journey guitarist Neal Schon made a similar comparison between the two and praised Diamond Dave’s circus showmanship, highlighting the fact that on their joint tours, the theatrical production was equally as important as the singing. Then, he was appreciative of Sammy’s singing, acknowledging a distinct tone while expressing pleasure for both histories.

Below is a video of Wolf’s whole interview.

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