Sammy Hagar revealed this surprising back story to joining Van Halen

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Sammy Hagar rose to fame as the lead singer of Van Halen in the 1980s.

But he almost didn’t take over for David Lee Roth.

And Sammy Hagar revealed this surprising back story to joining Van Halen.

Sammy Hagar’s controversial ascent to become Van Halen’s lead singer

Van Halen is one of the best-selling rock bands of all time but they’ve famously transitioned through several different lead singers.

David Lee Roth was the original lead singer of Van Halen when the band was created in 1974.

After breakthrough success with Roth on the vocals, he decided to leave the band to pursue a solo career in 1985.

Eddie Van Halen – the lead guitarist and primary songwriter – tried to recruit Patty Smyth from Scandal to take over as lead singer but she turned him down.

Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates fame was also offered the job but he declined as well.

Eddie Van Halen was introduced to Sammy Hagar – then solo artist, formerly of the hard rock band Montrose, by a mechanic who worked on their Ferraris.

The first album of the new Van Halen, 5150, became one of their most successful releases.

But the union of Hagar and Van Halen almost never happened.

Sammy Hagar talks about joining Van Halen

Hagar told Fox News Digital that until Eddie Van Halen reached out to him, his music career was almost over.

“Then comes Van Halen when I was ready to retire,” Hagar said. “I hate to use that word because I swear it’s not in my DNA. But I was ready to say, ‘You know, I’m going to quit for a while. I’m going to stop. I’ve been touring my whole life.’”

Hagar was coming off his 1984 solo album VOA, which produced the hit single “I Can’t Drive 55.”

“This is 1985, you know. I just came off a major tour, platinum albums in a row, you know. I was rich and famous. So, I thought, ‘Why am I going to keep doing this?’ And then Eddie [Van Halen] calls. That was a defining moment,” Hagar recalled.

Hagar said that a big moment in his musical career was “getting thrown out of Van Halen” in 1996 after clashing with Eddie Van Halen over the direction of the band’s music.

“I had to roll up my sleeves and go back to work,” Hagar added.

Montrose was also a defining moment in the 76-year-old rocker’s career.

“Joining Montrose was a big step from playing clubs, someone else’s music, to writing my own music and making my own album of original material and then going on tour all over the world,” Hagar explained. “So, that was a big moment. I mean, that was a defining moment. I learned everything from Ronnie Montrose. How to play on stage, how to write songs, how to do all that.”

Hagar rejoined Van Halen in 2003 until 2005.

And he went into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the band in 2007.

Sammy Hagar helped Van Halen survive and thrive after the loss of David Lee Roth.

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