One year after debuting with Van Halen and ‘5150’, Sammy Hagar concluded his solo contract for Geffen with one final album.
Written by: Dangerzone
ARTIST: Sammy Hagar
ALBUM: Sammy Hagar (I Never Said Goodbye)
SERIAL: 924 144-2
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Sammy Hagar – vocals, guitars * Eddie Van Halen – bass * David Lauser – drums * Jesse Harms – keyboards
TRACK LISTING: 01 When The Hammer Falls * 02 Hands And Knees * 03 Give To Live * 04 Boys Night Out * 05 Returning Home * 06 Standin’ At The Same Old Crossroads * 07 Privacy * 08 Back Into You * 09 Eagles Fly * 10 What They Gonna Say Now
WEBLINKS: Site Link
One year after debuting with Van Halen and ‘5150’, Sammy Hagar concluded his solo contract for Geffen with one final album. Aided by Eddie Van Halen on bass, Hagar pounded out a mixed effort that ranged from Van Halen caliber hard rock to brutally anonymous filler.
The album is otherwise known as ‘I Never Said Goodbye’, the title coming from an MTV competition in which a viewer was chosen to name the record. It reached no 14 on the charts, helped in no part by Sammy Hagar’s sudden rise to household fame by his VH affiliation. The single ‘Give To Live’ reached a respectable top 25 position, the album Hagar’s last solo outing until 1997’s dreadful ‘Marching To Mars’ comeback solo affair.
As with most of Sammy Hagar’s albums there are hefty doses of hard rock with a smattering of AOR tossed in. Side one eclipses the second half on these terms. ‘When The Hammer Falls’ is basic Hagar rock, in glorious anthem style, always with an ear for a major hook. It’s heavy enough and members of VH are easily heard in the background contributing backing vocals.
The sub heavy AOR of ‘Hands And Knees’ has a desperate quality to the chorus, but without keyboards, is more hard rock than anything. A hit it may have been, but ‘Give To Live’ is somewhat uninspired to my ears, a sickly sweet melody line running throughout. Those aren’t exactly perfunctory AOR synths either.
Right on the mark is the revved up boogie of ‘Boys Night Out’, heavy on horns, and maintaining a superlative sense of energy until the last note. Perhaps this should have been saved for Van Halen. It’s somewhat of a downhill slide from there, only the supreme AOR of ‘Back Into You’ rising above the fluff that strangles much of the second half. ‘Standin’ At The Same Old Crossroads’, Privacy’ and ‘What They Gonna Say’ make it clear Hagar was short of inspiration here, dull melodies the norm.
This mood of averageness seemed to carry over to Van Halen‘s 1988 shocker ‘0U812’, easily their poorest album (including ‘Balance’!). Hagar had been so prolific in the years preceding his VH stint that he appeared to have run dry of quality compositions. He did rise above mediocre a few times on ‘Sammy Hagar’, but not often enough to remain compelling.
Perhaps he had reached such a comfort level as a member of VH that he lost sight of some quality control here and there. Even his post VH solo work has been plagued by similar problems, the odd flash of inspiration amidst prominently dull plodding rock. Worth hearing for ‘Boys Night Out’ if anything else.
Sammy Hagar on Video
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