Van Halen – ‘Why Can’t This Be Love’
  • Writers: Van Halen
  • Producers: Van Halen, Mick Jones, and Donn Landee
  • Recorded: 5150 Studios in Los Angeles
  • Released: Spring 1986
  • Players:
    Sammy Hagar — vocals
    Eddie Van Halen — guitar, keyboards, vocals
    Michael Anthony — bass, vocals
    Alex Van Halen — drums
  • Album: 5150 (Warner Brothers, 1986)
  • Also On:
    Live: Right Here, Right Now (Warner Bros., 1993)
    Best Of Volume I (Warner Bros., 1996)
    The Best Of Both Worlds (Warner Bros., 2004)
  • “Why Can’t This Be Love” was the first release from Van Halen‘s second lineup, in which Sammy Hagar replaced original frontman David Lee Roth, who had quit the band in early 1985 for a solo career.
  • Hagar and guitarist Eddie Van Halen met through a mutual car mechanic and became friends. Their first appearance onstage together was at the first Farm Aid concert in September 1985, when Eddie appeared as a special guest during Hagar’s set.
  • Van Halen was heavily influenced by Montrose, the band for which Hagar sang in the mid-’70s.
  • Executives at Warner Bros. advised the band not to continue under the Van Halen name, but the quartet chose to do so anyway.
  • “Why Can’t This Be Love” was an instant hit, reaching Number Three on the Billboard Hot 100 and Number Eight in the U.K.
  • The 5150 album was even more successful, becoming Van Halen’s first Number One on the Billboard 200. It peaked at Number 16 in the U.K.
  • 5150 was named for Edward Van Halen’s home studio, where the group recorded with Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones coproducing. 5150 is also the Los Angeles police code for the criminally insane.
  • Hagar’s solo hit “I Can’t Drive 55” was added to the Van Halen setlist in concert, but Hagar only performed a small amount of Roth-sung material.


  • Hagar left Van Halen acrimoniously in 1996, and he was replaced by Extreme singer Gary Cherone. Cherone was ousted from the band in November 1999.
  • Eddie Van Halen has made more headlines in recent years for his health than his playing, as he’s undergone hip-replacement surgery and successfully battled cancer.
  • Roth and Hagar united for a successful tour in 2002, though they didn’t get along all that well and there are no plans for any more work together. Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony has often performed with Hagar.
  • After years of bad blood, Hagar rejoined Van Halen in 2004 for the anthology The Best Of Both Worlds, which contained three new songs, and for a lengthy North American tour. Things ended badly between Hagar and Eddie Van Halen.
  • Van Halen reunited with Roth last year, and a tour was about to be announced, but internal issues put everything on hold at the last minute. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, when Hagar and Anthony were the only bandmembers in attendance, as Eddie was in rehab at the time.

The band eventually reformed in 2007 with Roth as a singer and Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass, and has gone on a lengthy tour, which has sometimes been interrupted by Eddie’s health issues.