Van Halen's name was taken from the two brothers who started the band. Their first band was called "The Broken Combs" and was formed in 1965. In 1972 they formed a band called Mammoth and in 1973 David Lee Roth joined the band. In 1974, Michael Anthony replaced the former bassist, Mark Stone, and the band changed their name to Van Halen. They now had the lineup that would rock for many years and through many hit albums and concert tours, which was:
Edward Lodewijk Van Halen - guitars
Alexander Arthur Van Halen - drums
Michael Anthony - bass
David Lee Roth - vocals
However, the band was still paying their dues for four more years before getting a recording contract in 1978 and releasing their first album, aptly named "Van Halen", which went platinum in October of that year. The first big single off that album was "You Really Got Me".
Van Halen II came out in March of 1979 and went platinim just a short two months later. Seems the boys has established themselves as superstars of rock, and release several more albums. The original lineup remained intact until 1985, when David Lee Roth left the band and Sammy Hagar joined as the new vocalist (and adding more guitar muscle to the band). David's departure and Sammy's arrival reinvigorate the band, and they start another string of hit albums and sold-out concert tours. Then, in 1996 Sammy leaves the band and there are rumors that David Lee Roth will be returning as the lead vocalist. David does join the band briefly to cut a couple of songs for the "Best of, Volume 1" album, but does not become a permanent fixture in the band.
As it turns out, Sammy's departure from the band marked the beginning of a string of lead singers, and David Lee Roth and Sammy both made comebacks with the band, more than once.