David Lee Roth
Whether one considered David Lee Roth a masterful rock singer or a relentless showboat, there was no denying that the once and future frontman for Van Halen was a fan favorite. When he debuted with the group in the early 1970s, Roth seemed a powerfully voiced, physically agile performer who captured audiences' imagination for the duration of a live performance, but with a wicked sense of humor and joie de vivre that stood in direct contrast to other ponderous, self-important frontmen in rock. Roth fed on the spotlight as it increased in intensity during Van Halen's original seven-year run, but by the mid-1980s, it became apparent that he was ready for his own stardom. Initially successful beyond anyone's expectations, Roth's solo career quickly plummeted off the musical radar, and by the 1990s, he was playing Las Vegas lounges while his former bandmates were conquering arenas with new singer Sammy Hagar. Van Halen's relationship with Hagar soon soured, and for the next decade, the band attempted to reunite with Roth on numerous occasions, all of which appeared to fall apart. In 2007, Roth and Van Halen finally came together for a wildly popular North American tour, which found the singer in fine voice and still able to whip crowds into a frenzy as he approached his sixth decade. Throughout it all, for better or for worse, David Lee Roth remained one of rock's most magnetic performers.