Today is guitarist [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Eddie Van Halen[/lastfm]’s birthday!!

Just remember, if you buy him a bag of M&Ms, be sure to take out the brown ones.

Jack FM learned this the hard way.

Their story is as dramatic as any soap opera.

Formed in Pasadena, California in 1972, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Van Halen[/lastfm] are one of rock music’s most commercially successful bands, selling over 80 million albums worldwide and scoring numerous No. 1 hits on Billboard‘s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

In 1977, Van Halen signed with Warner Brothers Records and released their self-titled debut album the following year.  Van Halen was an instant smash.  It peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 and sold an astounding 10 million copies in the U.S. alone, making it one of the most successful debuts by a band.  Singles like “You Really Got Me,” “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love” and “Ice Cream Man,” which is Jack’s Song of the Day, became staples on rock radio.

For the next five years, Van Halen’s commercial streak continued, culminating in the release of 1984.  The album landed at No. 2 on the charts and became the band’s second to be certified diamond.  1984 spawned such Van Halen anthems as “Panama,” “I’ll Wait” and the No. 1 hit “Jump.”

However, at the height of their popularity, singer [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]David Lee Roth[/lastfm] quit to pursue a solo career.  He was replaced by former [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Montrose[/lastfm] frontman [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Sammy Hagar[/lastfm], thus beginning a new chapter in the band’s history.

Between 1986 and 1995, Van Halen released four consecutive No. 1 albums, each selling over a million copies.  Singles like “Why Can’t This Be Love,” “Black and Blue” and “When It’s Love” landed atop the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and the band remained a popular concert draw around the globe.

But like his predecessor, Hagar had had enough and left the band in 1996.

The next decade saw brief reunions with both Roth and Hagar, as well as the release of the 2004 greatest hits album The Best of Both Worlds.  In ’06, Roth officially rejoined his band mates, and the ensuing tour grossed $93 million, proving that Van Halen were still loved by fans everywhere.

On February 7th, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will release their 12th studio album, A Different Kind of Truth.  It is their first album of new material in 14 years, and their first with David Lee Roth since 1984.  The single “Tattoo” is already making an impact.  Just one day after its release, “Tattoo” was the best-selling rock song on iTunes, and it is currently at No. 16 on the charts.

Tickets for Van Halen’s June 20th show at Dallas’ American Airlines Center go on sale this Saturday at 10 a.m.

Check out the video for Van Halen’s new single “Tattoo.”  And yes, we have Alex Van Halen‘s face tattooed on our back.

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