Sammy Hagar Wasn't Van Halen's First Choice

02/14/2014
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Sammy Hagar wasn't Van Halen's first choice to replace David Lee Roth when Roth quit the band to start a solo career in 1985, according to Patty Smyth who has revealed details about being approached to join the group.

Journalist Roger Hillis recently spoke with Smyth, the frontwoman for the band Scandal which had a hit in 1984 with "The Warrior" that hit No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The News Journal ran portions of the interview on Thursday, ahead of Patty Smyth and Scandal's show this Saturday in Dewey Beach, Delaware, but Hillis has sent antiMusic some portions of the interview that didn't make the Journal's final article that provide a little more detail about Smyth and Van Halen.

"Eddie asked me to join Van Halen," Smyth said. "When Valerie [Bertinelli] wrote her book, she downplayed the whole thing, which I don't understand. They had asked me not to talk about it in interviews at the time, because they didn't want Sammy Hagar to feel like he was the second choice. It was a long time ago; I never bring it up, but people do ask me about it and there's no reason to deny it."

Hillis asked Smyth how serious the Van Halen proposal was and she responded, "Eddie was dead serious. He wanted me to join the band, and we talked about it repeatedly.

"I had several problems with it," Smyth said. "I had just gotten pregnant with my daughter; I didn't want to move to California, plus those guys were partying very hard at that time."

In the News Journal article the quote ends there, but Hillis tells us that she went on to say, "The very last time we talked about it was after a David Letterman taping in New York; we were sitting around a table with Paul Schaeffer, Danny Kortchmar and Valerie. Eddie said he needed a 'yes' or a 'no' from me so he could move on and find someone else if I wasn't interested. When I said 'no,' Eddie called Sammy."

Smyth went on to score a No. 2 hit in 1992 with "Sometimes Love Just Ain't
Enough," a duet she recorded with the Eagles icon Don Henley. "I had sang backgrounds on all of Don's solo albums, so I asked him to sing it with me and he agreed. We didn't know it was going to be a big hit, but I did know it was the best song I had ever written," Smyth said. "I'd tried recording that song twice before and I was on the verge of giving up on it."

As for turning down the gig with Van Halen, "In retrospect, I would have loved to have played with Eddie and the guys," Smyth said. "I haven't always made all of the right decisions from a career perspective, but things worked out in the end. If I had done that, I never would have written 'Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough.' " Read more from the interview here.

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