26 April

Pick a Day

26 APRIL

In Music History

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2017 Father John Misty releases his video for "Total Entertainment Forever," which stars Macaulay Culkin as a crucified Kurt Cobain.More

2013 X marks the spot for the Ohio-born Twenty One Pilots, who pledge their devotion to their hometown fans by getting "X" tattoos midway through a performance at the Lifestyles Community Pavilion in Columbus. Frontman Tyler Joseph tells the crowd: "This X is dedicated to you guys. Columbus, Ohio is where we're from and it will always be where we are from. Whenever someone asks what that X means, I am going to say this is for all of you."

2011 Folk singer-songwriter Phoebe Snow dies at age 60 after being in a coma for three months due to a cerebral hemorrhage.

2006 Country singer Kellie Pickler gets voted off Season Five of American Idol.

2005 Amerie releases "Touch."

2005 Bruce Springsteen releases Devils & Dust.

2003 David Cassidy guests on the CBS show The Agency.

1999 English post-punk rocker Adrian Borland (The Sound, The Outsiders) commits suicide at age 41 by throwing himself under a train at London's Wimbledon Station.

1984 Count Basie, famed jazz pianist and orchestra leader, dies of pancreatic cancer at age 79.

1982 Rod Stewart is mugged on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard.

1978 Ringo Starr's TV special Ringo airs on NBC.

1976 Jose Pasillas (drummer for Incubus) is born in Calabasas, California.

1975 John Lennon's cover of "Stand By Me" reaches #20 in the US.

1975 Heavy metal drummer Nathan "Joey" Jordison (Slipknot) is born in Des Moines, Iowa.

1975 B.J. Thomas' "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" goes to #1 in America.

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Van Halen Succeeds With Sammy

1986

Van Halen proves there is life after David Lee Roth as their album 5150, the first with Sammy Hagar, hits #1 in the US for the first of three weeks.

Van Halen is named after their guitarist and drummer (Eddie and Alex), but it's not a Santana situation where the lead singer is interchangeable. David Lee Roth is as outlandish and charismatic as a frontman could be, but that huge personality makes it impossible for him to get along with his bandmates, and in April 1985, he leaves the group (Eddie claims he is suffering from LSD: Lead Singer Disease).

His replacement is Sammy Hager, a qualified rocker who did time in the band Montrose before launching a solo career. He lacks the quirky humor of his predecessor, but brings along guitar chops and an impressive vocal range. He's also a lyricist, which is one of the job requirements.

Van Halen's last Roth album, 1984, is their most polished, with radio-friendly cuts like "Jump" and "Panama" making it their most successful to date. For 5150 (the title refers to California police code for a mentally disturbed person; it's also the name of Eddie Van Halen's home studio where it is recorded), they come up with crowd-pleasers like "Why Can't This Be Love?" and "Dreams." Mick Jones of Foreigner is brought in to produce; he spends most of his time working with Hagar, since the rest of the band doesn't need much direction. The final product is familiar but different, and it works. The album climbs to #1 in the US, giving the group their first chart-topper. The Van Hagar era begins, along with a vigorous debate among fans: Sammy or Dave?

That such a debate even exists is shocking, since no band on this level has ever replaced a beloved frontman and reached even greater heights. It would be like Journey replacing Steve Perry and cranking out a #1 album... unthinkable.

The group's next three albums - OU812 (1988), For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991) and Balance (1995) - all hit #1 in America. Hagar leaves the group in 1996 and is replaced by Gary Cherone of Extreme. This lead singer swap has more predictable results, as he never fits in and lasts only one album.

As for Roth, he stays in MTV's good graces and thanks to "Just A Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody" and his cover of "California Girls" - both wildly popular on the network - he launches a successful solo career. His guitarist is Steve Vai, who like Hagar is a widely respected musician with a proven track record.

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