The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:
6. David Lee Roth – Van Halen
We are on a roll with 70’s groups with continuing success in the 80’s.
Women and Children First was released in 1980, and had the hits “And the Cradle Will Rock…” and “Everybody Wants Some!!“. The latter song was also featured in the movie Better Off Dead. Fair Warning was released in 1981. At that time, tensions were beginning to rise between Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth. Eddie wanted to produce more serious and complex songs, and David had more of a poppy fun style. The only song of note from that album was “Unchained“. The following year, Diver Down was released and performed better. There were a couple of pop remakes that were on the album that contributed to the success – “(Oh) Pretty Woman” and “Dancing in the Street“. “Where Have All the Good Times Gone!” also went to #17 on the mainstream rock charts. Then the band peaked in 1984 with their mega-successful album 1984. “Jump” was the bands first and only #1 pop hit. You couldn’t watch MTV for more than a half hour without seeing it. The first song on the album was a short keyboard instrumental called “1984“, and it led into “Jump”. We referred to “1984” as the song to get you psyched for “Jump”. “I’ll Wait” reached #7 on the mainstream rock charts. “Panama” was another huge success, and another song that got a lot of airplay on MTV. This was followed by the hit “Hot For Teacher” (“Sit down, Waldo”!).
On April 1, 1985, Van Halen and David Lee Roth had a bitter break-up.
Just before the break-up, Roth released 2 big hit singles – “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody“. In 1986, Roth released his first full solo album Eat ‘Em and Smile. The first single from that album was his most popular – “Yankee Rose“, which featured great guitar work by Steve Vai. “Goin’ Crazy” also had some success.
Then in 1988, Roth released the album Skyscraper which featured the hit “Just Like Paradise” which reached to #6. “Stand Up” was also a moderate hit.
[Note: I chose David Lee Roth over Sammy Hagar because Hagar was already a successful solo artist before he joined Van Halen (or as some people call it – Van Hagar). Sammy definitely had a more successful solo career than David]