Sammy Hagar

Nine on a Ten Scale

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While most would suggest that the seminal American hard rock debut from the Sammy Hagar-fronted Montrose is the real coming-out for the singer/guitarist, serious Hagar fans might disagree and offer that title to Nine on a Ten Scale. After two discs with Montrose (a self-titled record and Paper Money), Hagar struck out on his own and quickly released this solo debut after Capitol Records snatched up the hot young vocalist in 1976. If Hagar was anxious to show that he had musical skills that extended way beyond the gravel-voiced, Led Zeppelin-esque howling that he had demonstrated with Ronnie Montrose's heavy metal outfit, this recording definitely accomplishes that goal. Featuring mostly Hagar-penned material, and plenty of the singer's own guitar work as well, this disc -- while not a huge commercial success -- proved that Hagar possessed many talents. Unfortunately, some weak production and questionable lyrics make this record a pretty difficult listen decades after its initial release. But Hagar's voice is unconditionally impressive, and the music has enough of a spark to suggest the artist's rare ability to define a unique musical style.

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