Alex Van Halen

Birthdate: May 8, 1953

Band: Van Halen

Instrument: Drummer

Age in 2024: 71

Born May 8th, 1953, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Alexander Arthur Van Halen is the son of accomplished jazz musician Jan Van Halen and brother of Eddie Van Halen. Due to their father’s musical background, the brothers grew up in a rather musical household, being classically trained pianists before gravitating towards their respective instruments. Alex originally started as a guitarist and Eddie as a drummer before eventually swapping roles and forming their first band in the fourth grade.  

While attending Pasadena City College, Alex Van Halen met Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth. Alex, along with Eddie, would form Mammoth in 1972 which later turned into Van Halen in 1974 after the addition of Anthony and Roth. Despite the band not yet formally releasing any music, the band grew a following playing backyard parties and city parks, drawing hundreds of people, as well as traffic jams and noise complaints. 

Through self-promotion, Van Halen grew their fanbase until they became regular performers at Gazzarri’s and Myron’s Ballroom, and by the mid-1970’s were playing well-known clubs like Whisky a Go Go. Their success playing clubs led to KISS’s Gene Simmons producing a 29-track demo tape called Zero, and their discovery by Warner Bros. Records.  

In 1978, Van Halen released their debut album Van Halen to immense success, reaching number 19 on the Billboard 200 chart, and has been certified diamond by the RIAA as of August 1996. The album was almost entirely made up of the band’s biggest hits, including “Runnin’ with the Devil”, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘bout Love”, “Jamie’s Cryin’”, and the legendary “Eruption” into their cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”. 

The next year, the band released Van Halen II, which charted even higher and was certified 5 times platinum and had their first hit single “Dance the Night Away”. The band would release three more albums that did moderately well in Women and Children First (1980), Fair Warning (1981,) and Diver Down (1982), before releasing their next massive album 1984 (1984). 

Van Halen’s 1984 was extremely well received, garnering high praise from critics and bringing the chart-topping single “Jump”, as well as “Panama”, “I’ll Wait” and “Hot for Teacher”. The album would have topped the charts, but landed at a still massive number 2, being outdone only by Michael Jackson’s Thriller which was helped by Eddie Van Halen’s guest solo on “Beat It”. 

In 1985, Van Halen brought in Sammy Hagar to replace David Lee Roth and released their first album with Hagar in 1986 called 5150 which would become their first album to top the Billboard charts. With hits like “Why Can’t This Be Love” and “Love Walks In”, the album signaled that despite the lineup change, the band was still a rock behemoth.  

With Hagar, Van Halen would release another three studio albums in OU812 (1988), For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991), and Balance (1995), all to critical acclaim and earned the band high praise. All four of the band’s Hagar releases topped the Billboard charts, and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge ended up with the band winning the 1992 Grammy Award for Best Hard rock Performance.  

Following Hagar’s departure in 1996, the band brought in Gary Cherone, formerly of Extreme, to take over vocal duties. During this era of the band only released one album, 1998’s Van Halen III, before Cherone left the band the next year. Following this, the band went on a hiatus until 2004, when they would go on tour with Hagar returning to front the band, only to return to their hiatus after the tour. 

In 2007, Alex and Eddie Van Halen, joined by Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass, reunited with David Lee Roth for a U.S. tour, selling out shows left and right, and extending into 2008. By the fall of 2011, the band had finished recording A Different Kind of Truth, their final album released in February 2012. The band would continue to tour on and off until the unfortunate passing of Eddie in October of 2020. 

Outside of Van Halen, Alex Van Halen never recorded any other music that didn’t involve Eddie. His only other outside recording was when he played keyboards in Eddie’s “Respect the Wind” for the Twister (1996) soundtrack. He is currently working on a book titled “Brothers” set to be released this October, and unless something changes, he is retired from music.  

  • Hot For Teacher

  • Runnin' With The Devil

  • Panama

  • Jump

  • Dreams - Live

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