21 Things You Might Not Know About Birthday Boy Sammy Hagar

By Dave Basner

October 13, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

On October 13th, 1947, Sammy Hagar was born. To celebrate the former Van Halen singer’s 76th birthday, here are 21 things you might not know about him:

1. Sammy was named after his mom’s father, Sam Roy.

2. Hagar is of Lebanese descent.

3. Sammy was born in Salinas, California but grew up with his three siblings in Fontana, California.

4. Sammy’s dad worked in a steel mill but was also a boxer, something Sammy considered doing for himself, but instead chose to pursue music.

5. Hagar’s first band started in the late ‘60s. It was called The Fabulous Castilles.

6. In 1967, Sammy released his first 7” single. It featured the songs “Reach Out to Find Me” and “Read My Thoughts.” He put it out as part of the duo Samson & Hagar backed by the Peppermint Trolley Company.

7. Other bands Sammy was part of at that time were Big Bang, the Johnny Fortune Band, Skinny, Dustcloud, Cotton, Jimmy and Manhole.

8. Hagar joined the group the Justice Brothers, who became the house band at the San Bernardino bar The Nightclub.

9. Sammy eventually found success with Montrose. It was with that group that the rocker wrote his first song, “Bad Motor Scooter.”

10. When Sammy went solo after Montrose, he had a hit with the song “Red,” which, along with his red guitar and red pants, lead to his nickname, The Red Rocker.

11. Sammy was set to open for Boston at a gig during their 1979 tour but he was replaced by The Knack.

12.Eddie Van Halen’s car mechanic suggested that he bring Sammy into Van Halento fill the singer spot following David Lee Roth’s departure.

13. Sammy is also part of the group Los Tres Gusanos, along with Michael Anthony and drummer David Lauser. The band name translates to “The Three Worms.”

14. Sammy has been part of quite a few supergroups. In 1983, he formed HSAS with Journey's Neal Schon, Foghat's Kenny Aaronson and Santana's Michael Shrieve. In 2002, he joined Planet Us with Schon, Michael Anthony, Journey drummer Deen Castronovo and later Joe Satriani. In 2008, he formed Chickenfoot with Michael Anthony, Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, and his latest group is The Circle, with Mike Anthony, Waboritas guitarist Vic Johnson and drummer Jason Bonham.

15. Throughout his career, Sammy has dipped his toes into business ventures. He owned a mountain bike store, he created the Cabo Wabo brand which owns cantina restaurants and a tequila line, and he’s started various other restaurants and alcohol lines too.

16. Sammy is a fan of Ferraris and owns a number of rare models of the car.

17. Hagar owns homes in Mill Valley, California; Palm Desert, California; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Maui, Hawaii and a modern house designed by architect Paffard Keatinge-Clay in Corte Madera, California that he’s owned since 1977.

18. Sammy’s cousin, Ken Tamplin, is a Christian metal singer.

19. Hagar played a bartender at a gay bar on a 1998 episode of the Don Johnson seriesNash Bridges.

20. Sammy is a published author, having released his autobiography, Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock, as well as a cookbook titled Are We Having Any Fun Yet – The Cooking & Partying Handbook.

21. Hagar has four children, two sons, Aaron (born 1970) and Andrew (born 1984), and two daughters, Kama (born 1996) and Samantha (born 2001).

Happy birthday Sammy! We know you’ll be celebrating in style but don't have too much fun!

Sammy Hagar
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