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David Lee Roth

In the eyes of countless hard rock fans, David Lee Roth is the prototypical frontman. With a flamboyant, larger-than-life stage presence and a party-hardy surfer-dude persona (not to mention his acrobatic leaps, long mane of blond hair, and skintight spandex outfits), Roth was an integral part of Van Halen's meteoric rise to global dominance during the late '70s and early '80s. Born on October 10, 1954 in Bloomington, Indiana, Roth was introduced to music at an early age, via his father's affinity for Al Jolson, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Prima. By the dawn of his teenage years, his family had relocated to California, and in the early '70s, Roth became a major rock fan (Led Zeppelin, Black Oak Arkansas, Grand Funk, ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, etc.). He was soon singing in local bands, including the Red Ball Jets, who played shows along with another up-and-coming rock band from Pasadena, California -- Mammoth.

The members of Mammoth, including brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen on guitar and drums, respectively, often borrowed Roth's PA system for their gigs, and a friendship was struck up. Soon after, Roth was asked to join forces with the Van Halen brothers, who had enlisted a new bassist as well, Michael Anthony. The new quartet decided on a name change by the mid-'70s as they played the Sunset Strip -- Van Halen (reportedly Roth's idea). By 1977, the quartet was signed to Warner Bros., and 1978 saw the release of their landmark self-titled debut, one of rock's all-time great recordings. Mixing heavy metal riffs with punk's fury, Van Halen were onto a whole new sound, which resulted in the band taking the world by storm. The band issued a string of classic mega-selling albums (1979's Van Halen II, 1980's Women and Children First, 1981's Fair Warning, 1982's Diver Down, and two years later, 1984), while becoming a major arena-headlining concert draw in the process.

Just as Van Halen had hit their peak and appeared they could do no wrong, Roth issued a four-track solo EP in 1985, Crazy from the Heat, with rumors swirling that the bandmembers were bickering behind the scenes and that the singer was going to make a major motion picture. Still, it was a shock to rock fans everywhere when Roth left Van Halen later that year (Van Halen would soldier on with Sammy Hagar filling Roth's spot) -- leading to a war of words in the press. When his plans for the movie proved to be a bust, Roth immediately formed a top-notch solo band, consisting of ex-Talas bassist Billy Sheehan (often called "the Eddie Van Halen of bass"), ex-Frank Zappa guitarist Steve Vai, and ex-Maynard Ferguson drummer Gregg Bissonette. In 1986, Roth issued his first full-length solo effort, Eat 'Em and Smile, which was another hit and gave way to another sold-out tour.

Roth had also become a master of creating hilarious and highly original music videos (featuring a wide assortment of wacky characters), especially Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" and Roth's solo clips "California Girls," "Just a Gigolo," "Yankee Rose," and "Goin' Crazy." But while Roth's new solo band seemed to be on the way to a very promising future, the lineup began to splinter with each subsequent release (1988's Skyscraper, 1991's A Little Ain't Enough), until Roth was the only remaining member. With interest waning, Roth attempted to branch out musically on his experimental 1994 release, Your Filthy Little Mouth (produced by Nile Rodgers), but it was met with a cool reception, as was his attempt to break into the Vegas circuit around the same time.

By 1996, Van Halen had parted ways with Hagar, leading to an onslaught of rumors that a Roth/Van Halen reunion was in the works. The rumor appeared to become reality on September 4, 1996, when Van Halen and Roth appeared together at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York to present an award. Despite the fact that they had recorded several new songs the previous summer (two of which would appear on their forthcoming Best Of: Vol. 1 collection), the reunion was short-lived -- Eddie and Roth got into a near fistfight backstage on the night of the awards show. Relations soured once again when it became known that Van Halen had tricked Roth into thinking that he was back in the band (meanwhile, secretly hiring ex-Extreme singer Gary Cherone a few months prior).

Undeterred, Roth penned a tell-all biography, 1997's Crazy from the Heat, and issued his best solo album in years, 1998's back-to-basics DLR Band. When Cherone was dismissed from Van Halen in 1999 after only a single album (the horrific Van Halen III), rumors began swirling once again about a possible Roth/Van Halen reunion. With both camps keeping things very hush-hush, Roth finally broke the silence in April of 2001, issuing a statement on his website that he and his former Van Halen bandmates had indeed regrouped the previous year in the recording studio, but that he hadn't heard back from them in months. Barely a week later, Eddie Van Halen went public with the fact that he was diagnosed with cancer; in May of 2002 he reported on his website that his cancer treatments had been successful and he had "just gotten a 100% clean bill of health -- from head to toe."

Meanwhile, the good news from Eddie Van Halen did not apparently coincide with a return of Roth to the Van Halen fold, as the singer's Diamond Dave, a 14-track collection of mostly covers that echoed the 1982 Van Halen classic Diver Down, was released in 2003. In 2005, Roth took over FM "Shock Jock" duties for the satellite radio-bound Howard Stern, although it lasted only a few months, and the following year he gathered friends for the tongue-in-cheek Strummin with the Devil: The Southern Side of Van Halen.

After several false starts, Roth and Van Halen finally reunited for a tour; beginning in September of 2007, and lasting nearly nine months and 75 shows, the tour was a massive success. Four years later, the band announced not only another tour but also the release of A Different Kind of Truth, its first album with Roth since 1984. The album marked a return to the classic Van Halen sound, even to the point of including re-recorded versions of seven demos that dated back to the late '70s and early '80s. Released in February 2012, it earned positive reviews and debuted at number two on the U.S. charts. A live set, Tokyo Dome in Concert, followed in 2015. ~ Greg Prato
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Just A Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody

2. Just A Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody (Remix)


Track List: Your Filthy Little Mouth

1. She's My Machine

2. Everybody's Got The Monkey

3. Big Train

4. Experience

5. A Little Luck

6. Cheatin' Heart Cafe

7. Hey, You Never Know

8. No Big 'Ting

9. You're Breathin' It

10. Your Filthy Little Mouth

11. Land's Edge

12. Night Life

13. Sunburn

14. You're Breathin' It (Urban NYC Mix)


Track List: Rhino Hi-Five: David Lee Roth

1. California Girls

2. Just A Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody

3. Just Like Paradise

4. Yankee Rose

5. Stand Up


Track List: A Little Ain't Enough

1. A Lil' Ain't Enough

2. Shoot It

3. Lady Luck

4. Hammerhead Shark

5. Tell The Truth

6. Baby's On Fire

7. 40 Below

8. Sensible Shoes

9. Last Call

10. The Dogtown Shuffle

11. It's Showtime!

12. Drop In The Bucket


Track List: Diamond Dave

1. You Got The Blues, Not Me...

2. Made Up My Mind

3. Stay While The Night Is Still Young

4. Shoo Bop

5. She's Looking Good

6. Soul Kitchen

7. If 6 Was 9

8. That Beatles Tune

9. Medicine Man

10. Let It All Hang Out

11. Thug Pop

12. Act One

13. Ice Cream Man

14. Bad Habits


Track List: The Best

2. Yankee Rose

3. A Lil' Ain't Enough

4. Just Like Paradise

5. Big Train

6. Big Trouble

7. It's Showtime

8. Hot Dog And A Shake

9. Skyscraper

10. Shyboy

11. She's My Machine

12. Stand Up

13. Tobacco Road

14. Easy Street

15. California Girls

16. Just A Gigolo - I Ain't Got Nobody

17. Sensible Shoes

18. Goin' Crazy

20. Land's Edge


Track List: Skyscraper

1. Knucklebones

2. Just Like Paradise

3. The Bottom Line

4. Skyscraper

5. Damn Good

6. Hot Dog And A Shake

7. Stand Up

8. Hina

9. Perfect Timing

10. Two Fools A Minute


Track List: Sonrisa Salvaje

1. Yankee Rose (Spanish Album Version)

2. Timido (Shyboy) (Spanish Album Version)

3. Soy Facil (I'm Easy) (Spanish Album Version)

4. Noche De Ronda En La Ciudad (Ladies' Nite In Buffalo) (Spanish Album Version)

5. Loco Del Calor (Goin' Crazy) (Spanish Album Version)

6. La Calle Del Tabaco (Tobacco Road (Spanish Album Version)

7. Arma De Caza Mayor (Elephant Gun) (Spanish Album Version)

8. En Busca De Pleito (Big Trouble) (Spanish Album Version)

9. Cuanto Frenes (Bump And Grind Mix) (Spanish Album Version)

10. Asi Es La Vida (That's Life) (Spanish Album Version)


Track List: Eat 'Em And Smile

1. Yankee Rose

2. Shyboy

3. I'm Easy

4. Ladie's Nite In Buffalo?

5. Goin' Crazy

6. Tobacco Road

7. Elephant Gun

8. Big Trouble

9. Bump And Grind

10. That's Life


Track List: Crazy From The Heat

1. Easy Street

2. Just A Gigolo

3. California Girls

4. Coconut Grove


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Rock Icon ... Long live DLR!
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Love him also in van halen
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David Lee e Indiana boy bringing it to the masses like a Super Star.
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His version of California Girls is the best by far
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I like David Lee, I like Sammy. But I saw a Dan Rather interview with Sammy Hagar and Sammy said I've never respected Dave. I think he's kind of a dick for saying that. You have to respect the fact that he's a great performer, they both are.
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A gigolo is a male prostitute
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What's a gigolo?����t h a t makes no sense
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Lucky enough 2 c these tours('86-'8 9 ) w / Davey&the (new)guys... @ the time. . . Everyone was(thought 2b)an upgrade (perhaps w/ the exception of drums-G.B.)
Sheehan was great...& VAI(N) was just that...a little forgetMEnot from Davey
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Diamond Dave!!! 'nuff said!
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roofquestmar k
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Miss OL' Dave
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Diamond Dave.
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Sammy has always been awesome.
But when it comes to Van Halen, D L R is the ultimate!!!
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Back n the day baby...thoug h t it was over for scam halen '86
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Saw the diver down tour. What an a** kickin band, people were going insane, chicks fainting , it was crazy...
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Great singer and performer , born with natural talent. Much music now and days can't compare to all of the hits van halen put out, as well as David's solo career. I'm so glad that they are still rockin it out and performing live. Hope they come back and give Austin Tx a lil bit of that heavy energy! Peace n love to all who read this
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One goofy a** motherf**ker but I love him
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He is and always will remain the best front man the world will ever see saw vh in all three situation no lead singer with the exception of plant even compares.
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Hands down the #1 frontman ever! a coke craised maniac that scream unreal.those ball stretching kicks. It's so sad to see your true rock icons to get old and attempt those classics.han g it up dude bro!
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O The Eighties .....Misss ya!
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Make mine a push pop...
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50 lb bag of weed!??? You must be high. It was a dime bag and charges were dismissed.
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Yankee Rose!!!!!!
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Christi Bloomfield likes it
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This is music not like have now
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Rock legend, the spark that created the flame VAN HALEN!
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Turn it up!
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I'm only nine people lol
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Lol I hate him an my dad like totally loves David and that's why I sit here being tortured about David Lee roth yup
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Damn Good...
Those were good times, Damn good times<><
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David Lee Roth, is by far, The Greatest Front Man of All Time!!! With his personality and talent, dress, body, looks... Who comes close?
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Diamond Dave: Best Frontman of All Time!!
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Even though VH with David Lee Roth is the best band out there, you have to agree that Dave's solo gig was pretty awesome too
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Van Halen III was titled because Gary Cherone, (of Extreme fame), became the bands 3 lead singer...hen c e III also, Eat 'Em And Smile is the best band lineup of all time, as far as the super bands are concerned, but the album itself is the greatest summer album from top to bottom. Well said Thewaterofhu m a n i t y # 1 5 !
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Love me some DAVE TV!!!!!
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Ya can't beat DLR! I haven't found anything that makes me happier than Eat 'em and Smile on a nice summer afternoon...
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Why was that crappy album called Van Halen III?
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I saw all 3 singers. The Extreme guy was blah, Sammy was drunk, Dave was classic Dave.
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Diamond Dave was always a fantastic showman, awesome artist. He made the music fun to listen to!
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like david lee much better solo than with VH--Hagar took VH to musical maturity, where david lee never could have. but this solo stuff is just plain fun--great catchy party tunes.
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David lee went out with a girlfriend of mine from highschool to add to his list of many girls!! loyds of london knows all to well!
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I always laugh when I hear people say that, truckerguy. The highest charting VH album with Dave was 1984, which peaked at #2. Every one of the VH albums with Sammy went to #1. I don't understand why people feel they have to choose, though. I enjoy both versions, as well as Sammy and Dave's respective solo careers.
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DLR is one of the best ever ..he made VH and not and I repeat NOT hagar!!!
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best DLR quote ever: "Some people burn their candles at both ends. I take a blowtorch to mine."
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Will go down in Rock N Roll history as a legend--both his music and that high-strung personality of his. Luv ya Dave!!
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David Lee Roth is such a great singer that i'm wondering what his doing rightnow. Where are you david?
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Just lately i have started to listen to daves solo stuff. He still kept his voice and still gave his albums a little van halen feel to them. But the 78-84 years of van halen will be hist best years.
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