Their debut, self-titled album was released in 1978 and featured a new soloing technique called tapping, a neck-technique utilizing both left and right hands on the neck.
Van Halen's most successful album, sales-wise, was Roth's departing album, 1984, released in 1984. After the subsequent tour, Roth was either dismissed by guitarist Eddie Van Halen or walked out on the band, according to different reports. Soon after, singer/guitarist/song-writer Sammy Hagar was recruited because of a previous tour with Hagar's former band Montrose[?].
Van Halen's period with Sammy Hagar was a marked by two trends, an upward trend in the charters, and one of growing resentment of the departure of Roth. Hagar's lyrics were, on the whole, more serious, something die-hard, traditional Van Halen fans missed when comparing to Roth's early 80s party, 'hair' influences.
Van Halen's most successful album, Balance, resulting in a #1 on the Billboard, of 1996 was Hagar's last. Following was what was thought an attempt of a reunion with David Lee Roth which Edward says was nothing more than a project to record two new songs due to the lack of new tracks on the greatest hits album. All of this talk of a reunion was ended when Edward and David were doing interviews, after appearing together at the MTV Video Music Awards, and Dave had blown up at Eddie for mentioning his hip replacement surgery. So Eddie told him to not bother calling him back again, and that was the end of that.
Gary Cherone was now recruited from his band Extreme to sing for Van Halen, resulting in a dismal failure in sales of a very experimental album, Van Halen 3. Cherone split amicably with the band after the VH3 Tour.
Since 1998, the music of Van Halen has been non-existent, lacking a lead singer. Eddie Van Halen went through cancer treatment in 2001 and has since recovered.
In the summer of 2002, David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar teamed up to tour in the "Heavyweights of Rock" tour, or 'Sans-Halen' Tour.