If you’re going to name a band after yourself, it goes without saying that you should have the talent to back up such a statement. Luckily for brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen, their musical skills are unquestionable, and their name is now synonymous with rock ‘n’ roll. With Alex’s energetic drumming and Eddie’s virtuosic talent for the electric guitar, the band seemed destined for success, but it was the addition of singer David Lee Roth — and his flamboyant, larger-than-life rock star persona — that sent Van Halen over the edge into fame (and infamy).

Eddie’s complex finger-tapping prowess on tracks like Eruption was often at odds with Roth’s commercial pop sensibilities, but the band nonetheless released a series of hit albums that bridged the gap between heavy metal and mainstream rock. 1984’s Jump — with its catchy synth hook and energetic performance music video — became Van Halen’s first (and only) No. 1 single.

After a dramatic falling out, Roth was replaced by Sammy Hagar for 1986’s 5150. The band had a successful run with Hagar, but couldn’t escape the tensions that had plagued them for years, and Hagar’s tenure in Van Halen ended in 1996. After that, the band tried again to make it work with David Lee Roth, but Eddie couldn’t stick it out and enlisted Gary Cherone of Extreme to take over vocal duties. Cherone’s time in Van Halen was marked by disappointing record and concert ticket sales, and he split amicably from the band in 1999.

After a few years of brief, back-and-forth reunions with Roth and Hagar, Roth rejoined Van Halen in 2007. Longtime bassist Michael Anthony was replaced by Eddie’s son, Wolfgang, and the new Van Halen lineup — three Van Halens and David Lee Roth — released A Different Kind of Love in 2012. The band’s notorious hard-partying days are behind them now, but their timeless rock anthems live on.

This month, we’re celebrating both the anniversary of 1984’s release (January 9, 1984) and the Eddie Van Halen’s birthday (January 26, 1955). And if you think you’ll never forget anything about Van Halen, you can prove it by taking our quiz and listening to them on Classic Rewind (Ch. 25), Ozzy’s Boneyard (Ch. 38) and 80s on 8!

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