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Hopes for Van Halen reunion dashed, at least for now

Though Van Halen were strongly rumored to be prepared to make a reunion announcement onstage at the Grammy nominations concert, no such information emerged.
/ Source: Reuters

Hopes of an imminent reunion of veteran American rock band Van Halen with original lead singer David Lee Roth were dashed Wednesday when a Grammy nominations concert came and went without an expected announcement.

Grammy organizers had been promising for weeks that Wednesday's televised concert would feature "a special live announcement from a truly iconic group regarding their historic reunion set to take place on the Grammy stage on Feb. 12, 2012."

The official Grammy Twitter feed followed the announcement in early November with a message saying "Does this hint make u wanna 'Jump' and 'Dance the Night Away'?" — the titles of two of Van Halen's biggest hits.

Recording Academy President Neil Portnow declined to confirm speculation that Van Halen was the band in question but told reporters Wednesday that those concerned were not ready to go public.

"In the world of creativity, everything is fluid ... there was the expectation that the artist involved and we would be ready to announce, but the artist was not quite ready.

"We were genuine about the intention and discussion (but) the time frame has moved," he said.

Portnow said the California-based band, one of the biggest acts in rock'n roll in the 1970s and 1980s, "would have to address that (reunion question) themselves."

The Grammy tease had also sparked renewed speculation that Van Halen was about to release their first studio album of all new material since 1998, and the first with Roth on vocals for 27 years.

Van Halen formed in 1974 with Eddie Van Halen on lead guitar, his brother Alex on drums and Roth on vocals.

But the hard rock band was rife with drama and personal rivalries and changed its line-up several times over the years. Roth was replaced by Sammy Hagar in 1985 and went on to have a successful career as a solo artist, but he toured with Van Halen on their last major outing in 2007-2008.