The Real Reason Sammy Hagar Didn't Join Aerosmith

Sammy Hagar had been playing music and making records for over a decade before he replaced David Lee Roth to become the frontman for Van Halen. He'd been in a couple of bands but went solo in 1976, according to his website, Red Rocker. Maybe it was the solo thing, maybe it was his capable pipes, maybe it was his reputation for being laid back, but according to Hagar, he's been asked to join a few different bands besides Van Halen over the years. 

It's no secret that rock band relationships can be, well, rocky. So it stands to reason that from time to time a successful band needs a new singer. From what Hagar says, he's been approached by several bands in need of a frontman. In 2011 he told Forbes that over the years he's been invited to join Mötley Crüe, Pantera, Velvet Revolver, and Aerosmith

But Hagar said some singers are harder to replace than others, and in the case of frontman Steven Tyler, he said because the band had been together for 40 years when they asked him to replace Tyler after one of the bands many falling outs, "you don't want to walk into something like that ... it's always been Steven at the front of Aerosmith. You don't replace that." 

But that wasn't his only reason. Years later he would say more about it to Ultimate Classic Rock. 

Sammy Hagar didn't want to be known as 'guy who replaced the guy'

According to what Sammy Hagar told Ultimate Classic Rock in 2021, he was tempted to join Aerosmith. He even went down to Cabo and while he was there he listened to a bunch of their songs and thought about it. 

Hagar told UCR, "I was thinkin', "'Livin' on the Edge," I'll f****n' kill that song!' And then I woke up on the beach and said, 'You know what? I can't do this.' So that was it."

Hagar said while it was tempting to join Aerosmith, he didn't want to be known as the replacement guy since he'd already taken over the lead singer role for Van Halen. He told UCR, "I think if I would have done both those things, I would have been the guy that replaced the guy. You know, always the guy replacing the guy, and that's a strange legacy for a guy like me, you know what I mean?"

On the other hand, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry told UCR he doesn't remember actually formally inviting Hagar to replace Tyler, though he doesn't deny he was likely considered among a shortlist of other contenders. Fortunately, Tyler and Perry worked out their differences and the band persevered. 

"You don't keep a band together without a lot of bumps and grinds," Perry told UCR ... It's a long journey, man. The steps go sideways."