For me they are the greatest American Rock Band.
I was 12 when John Bonham died, I was just discovering rock music at that time. AC/DC were the first band I loved and were the gateway into the wonderful world of music from there.
As it was 1980 of course Back in Black was the album of the day at that time so was a good place to start!!!
I first heard Eruption at 12 and thought what the f**k is that? Blew my mind.
Saw them at Donington 1984 just after my 16th birthday, whilst they were internally falling apart that show blew me away.
They've neglected Europe for so long now though. I've seen them 4 times and two of those were supporting Bon Jovi for Gods sake!!
Van Halen though in many ways though were my Zeppelin at that time and from thereon in though, I flipped over them and I still love them now.
I've compared them to LZ on a forum before and been lambasted for it but maybe I didn't explain accurately enough.
Of course LZ are the greatest but VH at that time dragged rock kicking and screaming from the 70s to the 80s.
Those albums with Roth in particular each in their own way had that unexplainable 5th element that just makes them so special. Even Diver Down!!!
They weren't afraid to experiment and each had their own quality that bought something together to make something quite incendiary...sound familiar?
I even loved the other incarnations, when Roth quit (or was fired depending who you believe) I was gutted but Hagar joined and bought something else to the band.
The best thing they did it not get a Roth replacement per se but someone who replaced Roth...if that makes sense!!!
I even liked the Cherone era...someone had to!!!
Awesome band. I just wish they'd do something like about releasing some material be it live DVD's Hagar era remasters or expanded/deluxe edition albums. Ah well you can dream?