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October 11, 2023

20 Vintage Photos of a Young and Sexy David Lee Roth of Van Halen

Musician David Lee Roth was born on October 10, 1954, in Bloomington, Indiana. Now famous for his distinctive vocals, as well as his rowdy and, sometimes, raunchy stage persona, Roth started life as the son of an ophthalmologist. Some of his early musical favorites were jazz artist Al Jolson and R&B legend Ray Charles. During the summers, Roth would often visit his uncle Manny in New York City. His uncle ran the club Cafe Wha? in the Greenwich Village neighborhood, a popular hot spot for such famous talents as Bob Dylan.

Roth moved to California with his family as a teenager. He began performing in high school by joining a band. As a student at Pasadena City College, Roth studied music theory for a time. There, he befriended Eddie and Alex Van Halen, two brothers from the Netherlands who played together in a band called Mammoth. Roth played with several bands himself, including Red Ball Jets. The Van Halens sometimes rented Roth’s PA system for their gigs. Roth later joined Mammoth, which soon changed its name to Van Halen after learning another group already had rights to “Mammoth.” Michael Anthony came onboard as the group’s bassist.

Van Halen became a popular fixture on the club scene. According to several reports, KISS’s frontman Gene Simmons attended one of the band’s concerts and paid for them to make a demo recording. Van Halen landed a contract with Warner Bros. in 1977 and released their first self-titled album the following year. Van Halen quickly became a hit, featuring Roth’s expressive, sometimes primal vocals and Eddie Van Halen’s revolutionary guitar work.
“The outfit is a collection of 1970s [clothes]. Van Halen were a ’70s band – we may have enjoyed our success in the 1980s, but virtually all of our club years and influences, musical and otherwise, are closer to a British music-hall background. The songwriting is closer to Broadway and film musicals, such as West Side Story or any of the Bob Fosse material.” – David Lee Roth
In 1979, Van Halen had their first hit single with “Dance the Night Away.” The band toured to support the record, and Roth proved to be quite the showman. With his long blond hair and crazy spandex outfits, he won over audiences with his fast-talking patter, jumps and stunts. His routine has commonly been described as vaudeville meets the Sunset Strip. Off stage, Roth and his bandmates developed quite the reputation as one of rock's most hedonistic acts. One rock journalist called the group’s lifestyle as “a nonstop booze-and-babes party train.” Roth himself has said that Van Halen made Led Zeppelin look like Boy Scouts.

Here’s a selection of 20 amazing vintage photos of a young and sexy David Lee Roth:


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