Circus Magazine was the first time I had seen the name Sammy Hagar and that was back in 1982 for an advertisement for his current album at the time Three Lock Box.
It wasn’t until the summer of 1984 when I had first seen Sam’s video for I Can’t Drive 55 on MuchMusic and I was sold. The song featured a crunchy guitar not overtaken by the keyboards and the video was fun as well with Sam blasting around in his Ferrari/Eluding the Cops/Being tossed in the Slammer and then busting out and there’s Sam in the cool car while the boys in his band follow him a truck! You know who’s cutting the cheque’s!
I was 16 and Sam was badass in a Hard Rock kind of way as it seems Sammy wasn’t taking his shit too serious by making a cool goofy video!
Off to fetch my first Hagar record and that was Voice Of America or V.O.A for short!
Sammy already had a slew of solo albums under his belt as well as two Montrose albums so he had been in the game for a while!
Sam’s career by 84 was picking up steam and as well just a few months later in Oct 1984 I caught Hagar headlining in Ladano’s favourite city Duluth Minnesota with Krokus opening. Sammy delivered an exceptional live show to this day I still recall fondly..
“I Can’t Drive 55” (Sammy Hagar) – 4:12
“Swept Away” (Hagar) – 5:36
“Rock Is in My Blood” (Hagar) – 4:29
“Two Sides of Love” (Hagar) – 3:41
“Dick in the Dirt” (Hagar) – 4:19
“VOA” (Hagar) – 4:29
“Don’t Make Me Wait” (Hagar, Jesse Harms) – 4:06
“Burnin’ Down the City” (Hagar) – 5:32
There ya have it. 8 Hard Rockers with Don’t Make Me Wait being the bona-fide token Power Ballad but other wise a pretty kick ass album.
Sam nicked Ted Templeman for this album and Ted of course produced the 6 Roth Halen albums and just a short year later Wham Bam Ol Thank You Mam! Sam I Am becomes the new VH singer after Dave Roth gets the boot/quits ..yada yada…
Sammy Hagar – lead vocals, lead guitar
Gary Pihl – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Jesse Harms – keyboards, backing vocals
Bill Church – bass guitar, backing vocals
David Lauser – drums, backing vocals
The great thing when I started buying Sam’s albums was that these guys were his backing band for many years. Sam remained loyal to them and it wasn’t like the Dave Coverdale Whitesnake switch aroo member changes from album to album tour to tour it seemed which I got so sick and tired of.
V.O.A like I had mentioned blasts of with I Can’t Drive 55 and once Lauser rolls that snare intro it takes you the listener all of 5 seconds to know that the Production is going to be top-notch as well as the performances! Love this tune as 55 is just plain old fun Rawk! No Frills’s as Sam is smart as he buy’s into the don’t bore us get to the chorus philosophy and I’m ok with that as my attention span is short to begin with…
Swept Away is a Gem! Sam nails one out of the park with this track. Love the big power chord that begin’s the song and it shifts into a decent balance of keyboards and acoustic before Sam ramps it up on the chorus. Check out the Live 1984 audio clip I posted to hear it for your self….
Rock Is In My Blood lyrically is kinda silly but the music is slow with a bit of hard rock thrown in to keep the music somewhat raunchy. It’s a decent track musically but after Swept Away Sam can be forgiven for writing some Dumbo Like Lyrics…. Sam must have found some of Gene Simmons leftover Animalize lyrics lying around!
Sam and the boys deliver a real decent hard rock single written all over it track called Two Sides Of Love. Driven by keyboards and drums along with some ripping guitar Two Sides is a great fun summer time hard rock track. Love the pre chorus that segues right into the catchy happy chorus. Great tune….Another video posted below…
Dick In The Dirt wins funniest song title in 1984.. Sam sings about a down on his luck dude named Richard so come chorus time the lyrics go “She Knocked Dick In The Dirt” hahaha,,,that silly ol Red Rocker. The music is good as well and when I caught the VOA show this was the second track played that night….
The title track V.O.A is Sam rolling up with Rock Troops and they will kick anyones ass that is in the way! Sam even name drops the USSR as well and I remember reading back than interviews asking him about being political etc which was kinda funny because these lyrics are kinda just goofy words like Triumph wrote with there Allied Forces lyrics. No harm no foul right? But by Sam name dropping a country I guess he stirred someones coffee the wrong way…than again as with a lot of music back than it was probably a calculated move. I bought into it!
Don’t Make Me Wait is the big power slobbery tune on this album and it’s not a bad track actually! Everyone was doing this back than and so it falls into that heap of song’s I can’t handle but some I can. Today I can’t though…
Burnin Down The City was a tune I kinda neglected as I would pick up the needle after the tune V.O.A and would move onto something else. Having said that it’s not a knock as this tune is a mid tempo end of the album rocker. Features Sammy yammering on about some-crazed ass dude Burning Down The City…Case in point… Here’s some lyrics ….
Every night he rocks this place
He burns the best, but never shows his face, oh, no.
Burns the walls, burns a truck,
Burns a trian, don’t give a fuck, no, no.
Aren’t those lyrics classic? HAHAHA….
Still though a great revisit and you have to hand it to solo Sam as he was basically putting out album after album followed by tour after tour and building up the fan base. Plus writing all the tunes and such the dude no matter what you think of Sam he has a great work ethic even though at times he get’s a little sloppy with the lyrics! But who cares I love Big Dumbo Rock look at KISS’s 80’s output especially that Asylum album…haha….
My next post will be the second ever album of Hagar’s I purchased on Monday Folk’s …A Double Sam Shot….