Pop laureate Daryl Hall has just confirmed a rumour that he was supposed to replace David Lee Roth in Van Halen. The role was eventually filled by Sammy Hagar, but Hall has indicated that he could very well have sung on ‘Why Can’t This Be Love’ and ‘Best of Both Worlds’.
Hall & Oates shared crew members with the Van Halen camp, so he was on first name terms with guitarist Eddie Van Halen already. “I knew those guys really well,” Hall recalled. “We actually shared some people: crew, and things like that. And Eddie came to a show with [his then-wife] Valerie [Bertinelli]”.
Hall highlights that Lee Roth had already left the band by the time Van Halen approached with him the offer, although the singer highlights that it was done informally.
Hall continued: “And Eddie said, ‘Do you wanna join Van Halen, man?’ He was half-joking, but I think he was serious. I really do believe he was serious. And I took it seriously. I went, ‘Meh, I think not. I think I’ve got my own shit going on’”.
Although Hall’s pop and R&B influences stood at odds with the band’s harder-edged early material, the band were beginning to embrace more commercial textures in their work. As it happens, the band enjoyed four consecutive number one albums on the Billboard, but Hagar left the band during the 1990s to focus on his solo career.
Black Sabbath vocalist Ozzy Osbourne says he was approached by Van Halen to sing for them, and Journey frontman Steve Perry was similarly approached. Hagar says he was swayed by Eddie Van Halen’s guitar playing and Alex Van Halen’s propulsive drumming, saying that the jam sessions reminded him of Cream.
In other Hall related news, the singer is preparing to tour America. Rock guru Todd Rundgren will provide support and the singer is working on an archive album that will showcase many of the proclivities that make up his artistic trajectory. He was being interviewed by New York’s Q104.3 when he revealed that he was on the shortlist to front Van Halen during the 1980s.
Stream the interview below.