David Lee Roth Solo Albums Ranked Worst to Best
For much of David Lee Roth's solo career, he seemed to have a foot on two trains going in different directions. Launching a solo career after leaving (or being fired from, depending on whom you ask) one of the world's most popular bands is a daunting undertaking.
Creative differences were part of the reason Roth and Van Halen split; the singer insisted nobody wanted to hear Van Halen play keyboards. Even though the success of "Jump" and 1984 proved him wrong, when Roth started his solo career he recruited another guitar hero in Steve Vai, as well as bass wizard Billy Sheehan.
Their first record together, 1986's Eat 'Em and Smile, showcased a raw hard rock sound with over-the-top soloing and riffing. Old-school Van Halen fans loved it, but it sold about a sixth of 5150, Van Halen's first album with new singer Sammy Hagar.
Why David Lee Roth Changed His Sound After 'Eat 'Em and Smile'
When Roth returned on 1988's Skyscraper, it was with keyboards and polished pop-rock production, contributing to Sheehan and Vai's departures. With each new album, it became clearer that Roth's natural interests had expanded beyond hard rock, as he explored blues, soul and even country music more deeply on albums such as A Little Ain't Enough and Your Filthy Little Mouth.
His competing instincts became even more clear on 1998's DLR Band, which featured a return to brash, straight-ahead riff-based rock, while 2003's Diamond Dave included fuller '60s-styled sounds, complete with jazzy horns and keyboards.
At its best, Roth's music combined the two sides of his musical brain, as he used his love and knowledge of a range of genres to add idiosyncratic twists to the hard rock genre. Every title on the below list of David Lee Roth Solo Albums Ranked Worst to Best features moments where he displayed this ability.