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Music

High Five

Sammy Hagar on recent and past duets

Randee St. Nicholas

If you’ve got the sudden urge to flout the speed limit, don’t be alarmed. It’s “Sammy Hagar Day.” Or at least it is in Lowell, where they have so designated Oct. 25 as a way to thank the former Montrose-Van Halen-Chickenfoot vocalist for his contributions to the Merrimack Valley Food Bank. (Hagar is making donations at every stop on his “Four Decades of Rock” tour.)

Hagar plays the Tsongas Center at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Friday as part of the WAAF Thrillogy. In honor of his recent duets album, “Sammy Hagar & Friends,” featuring folks such as bluesman Taj Mahal and country buddies Ronnie Dunn and Toby Keith, we rang up the “Red Rocker” to discuss five of his favorite collaborations and collaborators over the course of a nearly 40-year career.

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1. “Winding Down” with Taj Mahal  “That was the coolest one [on the new album],” says Hagar. “He said to me, ‘Where’d that song come from?’ And I said I wrote it and he said, ‘I thought it was an old blues tune that got by me.’ I thought that was the ultimate compliment.”

2. “Bad on Fords and Chevrolets” with Ronnie Dunn  “That was another one that brought something out of me. He’s such a great singer, he lifted me up.”

3. Chickenfoot   “It’s a true collaboration,” says Hagar of his recent group with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, guitar ace Joe Satriani, and former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony.

4. Eddie Van Halen  “When we were getting along good, it was the first time I ever worked with a guy when I heard the music he presented to me, it elevated my thoughts. I never sang or wrote like that in my previous solo career.”

5. “Heavy Metal,” written with Jim Peterik  “I’d never met him. He was supposed to come for a couple of days and we wrote it within maybe 10 minutes. And then we just went out drinking. Lightning just struck for us.”

Sammy Hagar plays the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $35. 978-934-5738,
www.tsongascenter.com

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