Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1972. From 1974 until 1985 the band was composed of virtuoso guitarist Eddie Van Halen, vocalist David Lee Roth, drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony. This line-up was changed when David Lee Roth was replaced as vocalist by Sammy Hagar. Critics and fans alike consider its 1978 debut album, Van Halen one of the most "original and revolutionary albums to change rock and roll." The band went on to further success, and by the early 1980s they were one of the most successful rock acts of the time. 1984, released in the same year as the name of the album, was their most successful. With the lead single, "Jump", becoming an international hit, and their only single to reach number one on the Hot 100, and the following singles, "Panama" and "I'll Wait", both hitting number 13 on the US charts. The album went on to sell over 12 million copies in the US alone. In 1985, the band replaced current lead singer David Lee Roth with ex-Montrose lead vocalist, Sammy Hagar. Under Sammy Hagar, the group released four US number one albums over the course of 11 years. Hagar left the band in 1996 shortly before the release of the band's first greatest hits collection, Best Of, Volume I. Ex-Extreme frontman Gary Cherone was quickly recruited as lead singer to replace Hagar, and Van Halen III was released in 1998. Cherone left the band in frustration in 1999 after the tour due to the poor commercial performance of the album. Van Halen went on hiatus until 2003 when they reunited with Hagar for a worldwide tour. The reunited band released a second greatest hits collection the following year, The Best of Both Worlds. Like Volume I before it, The Best of Both Worlds included material from both the Roth and Hagar eras but curiously omitted any Cherone era tracks. The album featured three brand new tracks recorded by the reunited band, two of which were released as singles. Sammy Hagar again left Van Halen in 2005 and in 2006, David Lee Roth returned as lead vocalist for their highest ever grossing tour, and one of the highest grossing tours of that year. Michael Anthony was not invited to participate in the tour and was essentially fired from the band, replaced by Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's son. In 2012, the band released the commercially and critically successful, A Different Kind of Truth, with Roth as lead vocalist.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Van Halen is the 19th best-selling band/artist in United States history, selling 56 million albums in the U.S. and 75 million albums worldwide. They were also revealed at number 4 on the Billboard's top money makers list in 2013. Van Halen is one of only five rock bands that have had two studio albums sell more than 10 million copies in the U.S. Additionally, Van Halen charted the most #1 hits in the history of Billboard's Mainstream Rock.
Van Halen achieved worldwide fame for their many popular songs and larger-than-life stage performances; unfortunately, they also became known for the drama surrounding the departures of former members. Controversy surrounded the band following the exits of three former frontmen David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone; this controversy often included numerous conflicting press statements between the former singers and the band. On March 12, 2007, Van Halen were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band won a grammy award for 'Best Hard Rock Performance' in 1992 for their studio album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, released the previous year. They have also been nominated for grammy awards on four other occasions, have won numerous MTV Video music Awards and won an American Music Award, being nominated for several others. VH1 ranked them 7th on their list of the top 100 hard rock artists of all time. Their debut album was placed at 415 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 'The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time', and 1984 at number 81 on their list of the '100 Best Albums of the Eighties'.