Van Halen is a hard rock band which formed in 1972 in Pasadena, California, United States. The band was originally called Mammoth and changed their name to Van Halen by 1974. The band's first studio album, "Van Halen", released in 1978, is widely regarded as a milestone in rock music. With this first release, the band, featuring David Lee Roth on vocals, Michael Anthony on bass, and Dutch-born Edward Van Halen on guitars (and also keyboards later) and brother Alex Van Halen on drums, established itself as a leader in the emerging and commercially successful U.S. heavy metal music genre of the 1980s. In particular, Eddie Van Halen quickly gained widespread notoriety for his technical prowess and musical sensibility. Almost overnight, he was touted as one of the most innovative and influential American rock and roll guitarists.
From 1978 to 1998 the band released 11 studio albums (with David Lee Roth until 1984, Sammy Hagar from 1986 to 1995 and Gary Cherone from 1998 to 1999), all of which broke the Top 20 spot of the Billboard 200 music charts. Their biggest hit, "Jump", reached #1 in the United States and Canada in 1984 . The band has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide and has received several Grammy nominations, winning the award with their 1991 album "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge". The video for "Right Now" also received several awards, including MTV's Best Video award. Van Halen is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records with the most number one hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock List. According to the Recording Industry Association of America Van Halen is #19 on the list of Top Selling Artists of all time (having sold more than 56 million albums in the U.S.). Van Halen is one of five rock groups that have had 2 albums sell more than 10 million albums in the U.S. (the others being: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Eagles and Def Leppard).
In addition to being recognized for their artistic contributions, commercial success and popularity, the band is known for drama surrounding the lead singer spot (in Edward's words, LSD meaning Lead Singer Disease). Although the core instrumentalists and backing vocals have remained constant (Edward, Alex and Mike) until 2004, the band has recorded studio albums with three different lead vocalists: David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone. Each vocalist has departed (at least once) under cloudy circumstances. Following their 2004 concert tour the band entered a hiatus phase broken in 2007 with the announcement of a long awaited reunion with David Lee Roth, twenty-two years after the band parted ways with the flamboyant frontman. The Tattoo Songfacts reports that A Different Kind Of Truth, Van Halen's twelfth studio album, and their first new album with Roth since 1984 will be released on February 7, 2012.
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