Eruptions Part 1: David Lee Roth vs. Van Halen

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In tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen, we’re devoting a pair of episodes to the two distinct eras of his namesake band. The first installment explores the guitar virtuoso’s relationship with the group’s original frontman, a karate kicking, spandex wearing, hyperactive rock ’n’ roll peacock named David Lee Roth. More a musical marriage of convenience than genuine friendship, the sparks between the pair both onstage and in the studio helped make Van Halen the biggest band in the world. But fame inflated their egos, and soon the bandmates were at each other’s throats. Diamond Dave loathed Eddie’s use of synthesizers on the album 1984. The global success of the record — and the pop crossover smash “Jump” — wasn’t enough to repair their creative rift, and Roth departed Van Halen in 1985 in pursuit of solo stardom and a film career. The band carried on without him, first enlisting Sammy Hagar and (briefly) Gary Cherone, before finally welcoming him back into the fold in 2007 for a series of reunion tours and a new album. Fans rejoiced, but the old tensions were never far from the surface.

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55 episodes