THE BAND: Sammy Hagar (vocals, guitars), and a list of others appearing on assorted albums here including Ronnie Montrose (guitar), Bill Church (bass), Denny Carmassi (drums), David Lauser (drums), Jesse Harms (keyboards), Vic Johnson (guitar), Eddie Van Halen (guitar, bass), Mona Gnader (bass).
THE DISC: (2004) 20 tracks clocking in at just under 79 minutes. Included with the disc is a 14-page booklet containing song titles/credits, which songs came from what albums, pictures, and brief intros from fellow rocker Ted Negent and Rolling Stone Magazine’s Scott Schinder. This collection follows his solo career from 1974-1999 (including one song from Montrose in ‘73). Digitally remastered sound. Label: Hip-O Records / Universal.
ALBUM REPRESENTATION: Montrose (1 song), Sammy Hagar (1), Standing Hampton (2), Three Lock Box (1), VOA (2), I Never Said Goodbye (2), Unboxed (1), Marching To Mars (2), Red Voodoo (1), Unreleased (2), B-Side (1), Movie Soundtracks – (4) from Heavy Metal, Footloose, Over The Top and Fast Times At Ridgemont High.
COMMENTS: Sammy Hagar is a success story whether you want to admit it or not. Debuting with the now classic Montrose in 1973; a solid solo career; several movie soundtrack songs; a decade stint with one of the best rock bands ever in Van Halen; followed by more creative solo work; countless guest appearances on other rock albums; sitting in with the Emeril “Live” TV show house band on the Food Network in 2005; a rocking party club in Cabo San Lucas; topped off with his own brand of blue tequila. Sammy loves the color RED and fast cars to go with it. This album, “The Essential Red Collection”, is the single finest testiment to the man. This is the best one disc greatest hits package out there from Hagar. “Essential Red” covers his most popular hits (“I Can’t Drive 55″, “Heavy Metal”, “I’ll Fall In Love Again”, “Give To Live”, “Bad Motor Scooter”, “There’s Only One Way To Rock”, etc) along with some hidden gems from movies (the best being the title track from “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”). There are several albums (now hard to find and some are now imports only) that have no songs represented here (i.e. “Danger Zone”, “Not 4 Sale”, “Street Machine”, Nine On A Ten Scale”, “Ten 13″, “Musical Chairs”, etc)… most of these were in the mid-to-late 1970’s and early 80’s. As classic as this collection is, I’d have to admit a few songs are missing (making me believe a 2 disc collection was absolutley necessary)… most noteably “Three Lock Box”, “When The Hammer Falls”, “Rock Candy” (Montrose), “Top Of The Rock” (HSAS with Neil Schon, 1983), and anything from his Van Halen days (I’m sure there were many legal issues here). The remastered sound is crisp and it makes all the songs here sound like they were recorded last month. The only bad thing here is that it’s not long enough. Sammy has stood the test of time – and this “Red” collection rocks (5 stars).