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Singer David Lee Roth has become a legend of rock 'n' roll, as the wild frontman for Van Halen and as a solo artist.
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The choice of Hagar was especially odious to Roth as the two had been musical rivals for years.
Roth released a four-song recording, Crazy From the Heat, in 1985. On the EP, he did his own take on several famous tunes, ranging from California surf rock to old pop standard. Roth scored a number three hit with "California Girls," written by the Beach Boys. His homage to Louis Prima, "I'm Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody," also did well. But these songs were a marked departure from Van Halen's hard rock sound.
With 1986's Eat 'Em and Smile, Roth returned to more familiar territory with this full-length release. The hard-driving song "Yankee Rose" proved to be the album's most successful single. "Goin' Crazy" also enjoyed some popularity. Roth began to really experiment with his sound with 1988's Skyscraper, sounding more mainstream pop and less hard rock. While the album had strong sales, Roth's musical shift was not a welcomed change by some.
Roth further alienated some of his fans with the Niles Rodgers-produced Your Filthy Little Mouth (1994), which proved to be a commercial dud. This was the first real flop for him, and he soon tried another new direction. Roth debuted a lounge act in Las Vegas the following year, which failed to draw much of an audience.
In 1996, Roth had a brief reunion with Van Halen. He worked with them on some new tracks for their greatest hits album and appeared with them at the MTV Music Video Awards. That same year, Sammy Hagar left the band. Van Halen's reunion with Roth was rocky and, subsequently, brief; after producing a few tracks with his old bandmates, Roth went back to working solo.
Trying a different medium, Roth gave readers an inside look at his wild and crazy life in his autobiography Crazy from the Heat (1997). He tried to recapture some of his past glory by teaming up with his former nemesis, Sammy Hagar, for a successful tour in 2002. Around this time, however, Roth began exploring a career beyond music. He became a licensed EMT in New York.
In 2005, Roth had a brief career as a radio DJ. He was hired to fill the shoes of Howard Stern, as the popular shock jock had moved to satellite. But Roth's days in radio broadcasting were short-lived. He only lasted a few months, before he was let go for low ratings. He made musical headlines in 2007, as Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Roth refused to attend the ceremony after learning that he wasn't going to be able to perform.
Later that year, Roth buried the hatchet with Van Halen. He rejoined the group, which now included Eddie Van Halen's son, Wolfgang, on bass, for a hugely successful tour. He and the rest of the band also went back into the studio, recording 2012's A Different Kind of Truth. The album hit the top of the rock charts, with critics offering mixed assessments of the work. Some noted that Roth's voice is less dynamic than it once was. Still others heralded the return of Roth, calling him "the true hero" of the recording.
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