After playing around in several local bands, Sammy Hagar would join the proto 80's hair band Montrose in 1973 to complete two albums with them before departing. With Montrose he would record Montrose (1973) and Paper Money (1974), two sets which featured some classic Hagar backed material including Space Station No. 5, Rock The Nation and Bad Motor Scooter. After leaving, he formed two short-lived projects titled Dust Cowboys and Sammy Wild before inking a deal with Capitol Records' to release the solo album Nine On A Ten Scale (1976) with the membership of him on vocals, Gary Phil (guitar), Bill Church (ex-Montrose; bass), Alan Fitzgerald (keyboards), plus session drummers. Scott Matthews would finally become the permanent drummer after the album's release.
His following efforts of Sammy Hagar (1977), Musical Chairs (1978; which saw the addition of David Lewark on guitar and Denny Carmassi replacing Scott on drums), and the live set All Night Long (1978) with Gary Pihl replacing Lewark, struggled but his 1979 effort Street Machine made it onto the charts at 71 U.S. (38 U.K.) Once again, Street Machine saw membership changes with Chuck Ruff replacing Denny on drums, and Neal Schon replacing Fitzgerald, with Geoff Workman joining on keyboards after the release. Danger Zone (1980) was a more commercial but nonetheless Hard Rocking album that kept him in the top 100 in the U.S. and top 30 in the U.K., competing nicely with its predecessor. He would then move to Geffen' to release several more workmanlike albums that made respectable chartings including Standing Hampton (1982; with David Louser replacing Ruff), Three Lock Box (1983), Through The Fire (1984) and VOA (1984) with the membership of Hagar, Schon, Shrieve, and Aaronson (bass), with Jesse Harms joining on keyboards. Shortly after he surprised the whole world by joining the Van Halen team on such hard hitting albums as 5150 (1985) and OU812 (1988) but completed the self-titled Sammy Hagar in 1987 to satisfy his obligations to Geffen' with Church and Pihl, and assistance from Eddie Van Halen.
In 1994 he returned to his solo career with the Unboxed compilation, and was once again in the U.S. top 30 with Marching To Mars (1997) and Red Voodoo (1999).