Sammy Hagar had an uphill battle when he joined Van Halen.
After David Lee Roth left, the Red Rocker had enormous shoes to fill and needed to keep Van Halen moving into the ‘80s.
While he may have plowed through a lot of baggage, Hagar said there was one Van Halen song that he can barely touch anymore.
When asked about the most challenging songs for him to sing, Hagar mentions one of his biggest hits off of 5150 saying,
“‘Dreams,’ the Van Halen song. That is the highest song ever. I can’t even sing that – even back then, I had to cheat when we did it live. And now we’ve tuned down a whole step, I do a slow version of it.”
While Hagar stands by the original recorded version, he wished he had the foresight to put it in a better key for himself saying,
“I don’t know what I was thinking when I walked into that studio that day. And [producer] Mick Jones says, ‘What about this little piece? What about this little piano thing and the little synth part?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s cool, let me just see how I can sing to it.’ And I start singing… ‘Wow, I can hit those notes! Holy shit!’”
Hagar also hinted that singing the classic Van Halen material was easy saying,
“I can always sing those songs. Those songs are easy. I sing those songs, lying on my back, smoking a cigarette, even though I don’t smoke.”
Though “Dreams” remains a part of Hagar’s setlist, he’s a bit lenient to play it outside of a concert setting saying,
“Every time I tried to sing it live… This is a song you don’t sing backstage. You get on stage, 18,000 people screaming, you’re all fired up – then you give it a shot. But you don’t sit around the house saying, ‘Let me warm up on that song.”
It might take a lot of strain to sing that song these days, but The Red Rocker never backs down from a challenge.