They have enjoyed success since the release of their debut album Van Halen (1978). As of 2007, Van Halen has sold 80 million albums worldwide and have had the most number-one hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. During the 1980s they also had more Billboard Hot 100 hits than any other hard rock or heavy metal band. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Van Halen is the 19th best-selling band/artist of all time with sales of over 56 million albums in the U.S. alone, and is one of five rock bands that have had two albums sell more than 10 million copies in the U.S. In 1999, the RIAA certified their debut album diamond for ten million in U.S. sales.
In addition to being recognized for success, the band is known for the drama surrounding the exits of former members. The multiple exits of both lead singers David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar were surrounded in controversy and mass press coverage with various contrasting press statements between the former singers and the band. Following their 2004 concert tour the band was on a hiatus from the public until September 2006, when new bassist Wolfgang Van Halen's place was confirmed and Roth reunion rumors began to re-surface coinciding with the band's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction on March 12, 2007. After years of speculation, Van Halen began a tour with Roth in late 2007 across North America and continued into 2008. Wolfgang van Halen and David Lee Roth have since become permanent touring and recording members.