One of the best chapters of Greg Renoff‘s excellent new book Van Halen Rising chronicles the band’s meteoric rise to fame during their first world tour in 1978. The above gallery offers a look at 10 particularly important performances that helped transform Van Halen from hometown heroes to platinum-selling superstars in just under a year.
One month after the release of their now-landmark debut album, Van Halen hit the road as the opening act for the much-more established Journey. As the year wore on, they’d cross the globe and share the stage with legends such as AC/DC, Black Sabbath, the Rolling Stones and Ted Nugent.
In every case, the group made powerful and lasting impressions on both their peers and the fans in attendance. As explained above, their nightly performances were so strong that Ozzy Osbourne was ready to hand over his group’s headlining spot, Journey’s crew allegedly messed with Van Halen’s sound equipment, and Nugent vowed never to let the group open for him again. Oh, and they also met their future lead singer, got screwed over a bit by Mick Jagger and pulled off an absolutely audacious stunt involving parachutes.
Van Halen Albums, Ranked Worst to Best