Posted on November 27, 2009 -
THE BAND: Sammy Hagar (vocals, guitar), Eddie Van Halen (bass), Jesse Harms (keyboards), David Lauser (drums & percussion).
THE DISC: (1987) 10 tracks clocking in at approximately 45 minutes. Included with the disc is a 6-page black/white booklet containing song credits/titles/times, song lyrics, and thank you’s. Recorded at A&M Studios, Los Angeles, CA. Label – Geffen.
COMMENTS: Hagar had all ready joined Van Halen when this album came out. Since Van Halen’s “5150″ (from 1986) grabbed so many headlines, I was actually surprised to see this solo Sammy album reach the light of day. Can you say contractual obligation (with Geffen)? No rest for the weary though… Hagar’s been a songwriter since the early 70’s with Montrose, so kicking out songs comes naturally to the red rocker. I think of solo Hagar material in two eras – the 1st era being the 70’s and early/mid 80’s; and the 2nd era being the late 80’s and after. Hagar has some classics from era-1… “Standing Hampton” (1981), “Three Lock Box” (1983) and “VOA” (1984). This self titled 1987 release (also known to as “I Never Said Goodbye”) is the first classic of the later Sammy era. While a very solid album, I still can’t help but rank it behind the 3 early classics mentioned above from ‘81-84. The melodies are front and center here, and the lyrics a distant 2nd. Hagar is not so much into singing about fast cars, women, and rock & roll anymore as much as he now wants to sing about love, relationships and philosophy (and even his family on later albums)… not that there’s anything wrong with that (I guess). Sammy is aging, and you can tell by his written words. The album has a few solid rockers – the opener “When The Hammer Falls”, and the one rebellious tune “Boys Night Out”. A few mid tempo songs – “What They Gonna Say Now”, “Returning Home”, a Cheap Trick wannabe – “Privacy”, and two power ballads that garnered nationwide attention from the FM radio stations – “Give To Live” and “Eagles Fly”… both great tunes. A solid and polished album with many a good song… but not as hard and rocking as his earlier material. Essential – you bet (4.5 stars).