Each fronted Van Halen during years of massive success, each brought a distinctive style to the band and each has a popular solo career.
Adding fuel to the fire, generations of fans pledge allegiance to one of the two camps. Put simply, most Van Halen worshipers are either Roth fans or Hagar fans (sorry, Gary Cherone).
In the same way that your ex-wife doesn’t get along with your new girlfriend – regardless of how much they have in common – Roth and Hagar were never going to be bosom buddies. There’s too much pride involved.
Still, that didn’t stop them from trying to play nice. In 2002, when both singers were no longer involved in Van Halen, Roth and Hagar embarked on the Heavyweight Champs tour.
“Sam and I are like fraternity brothers that have been through the same shitty hazing,” Roth said at the time. “There’s a rivalry between us, so the audience gets the absolute best out of both of us. You have to think of it as two title fights with no undercard.”
What seemed like a fun, friendly rivalry soon turned ugly. The two traded barbs in the press and avoided each other behind the scenes. Hagar especially grew frustrated with Roth, who rejected any ideas his tourmate brought to the table. “I fucking said, ‘Fuck this guy. He’s an asshole. You can’t get along with him. He’s no fun. He’s full of shit,’” the Red Rocker later recalled.
That’s just one chapter in the long history of incidents between Roth and Hagar. Watch the video below for a deeper dive into the classic rock feud.
Van Halen Albums Ranked
A ranking of every Van Halen album.