In a previous article I compared Stevie Nicks to Annie Haslam, and this time I look at two unique singers that are almost alike in appearance and movement. Big Jim “Dandy” Mangrum was the lead singer of the early 1970’s Southern Rock band Black Oak Arkansas  and David Lee Roth was of course the lead singer of the band Van Halen, but the connection between those two does not end there.  Black Oak Arkansas released their first album in 1970 and by 1975 were a major act in North America, while David Lee Roth and Van Halen were just getting started in 1975, which is why many people, including myself feel that David Lee Roth is just an extension of Big Jim Dandy.

Jim Dandy is noted for his raspy voice, long hair, and wild,  stage antics which sometimes included miming sex with a washboard which he often uses to accompany his singing, and is credited with being a major influence on David Lee, which he does not deny. Both singers tended to use the entire stage as a platform and were not afraid to be a little outlandish and sexually provocative   David lee may have been the more successful of the two but Jim Dandy was first and of that there can be no denying.

David Lee Roth circa 1976

The First two pictures show them  in their prime.

Jim "Dandy" Mangrum circa 1972
Jim “Dandy” Mangrum circa 1972

The next two Pictures are the way they look now.

David lee
David lee
Jim Mangrum
Jim Mangrum

Even as they age they seem to still look a little alike.   As for Black Oak Arkansas, I will be doing an entire story on them in the future.

Here is Black Oak Arkansas performing their song “Hot and Nasty” and Van Halen performing “Jump”.  You compare and let me know.

15 thoughts on “Jim Dandy vs David Lee Roth

  1. Not normally my musical taste but I purchased David Lee Roth’s first solo album [EP] “Crazy from the Heat” as my daughter enjoyed the medley of “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody”. The other tunes on the EP are quite good too but not really his true style. Used to play Van Halen’s “Jump” at dances.

  2. Wow, totally forgot about Jim Dandy and black Oak arkansas. And I never relaized just how close roth did imitate Jim Dandy. for my money I tale Dandy and Black oak.

  3. Elvis, I was a Big Black Oak fan and still listen to some of there stuff today. Van Halen was a take it or leave it band for me, I liked some of their stuff but after the first album I kinda drifted away from them but always remembered the similarity’s between Mangrum and Roth.

  4. Totally agree. Roth basically took Jim Dandy’s exact act and just vamped it up even more. Even down to specific stages moves and the vocal “yelps” and such. Dandy should get some royalties, lol.

  5. Uncle Dave
    I love both bands, and can imagine a young DLR going to Black Oak concerts while VH were cutting there teeth. H e said NOW THATS STAGE PRESENTS!!!! add a little hard rock and you got DLR ……………….. got to give Jim Dandy a lot of props or we wouldn’t have had the best version of VanHalen

  6. There was a fellow from Cambridge a few years back that liked to pass himself off as David Lee Roth. He would wax elequant about all the groupies he had concurred and the places he dad been. I thought him a sick puppy myself but he had a number of people I know duped.

  7. That picture of Roth is from 1987 or 1988. Look at the shirt he’s wearing. It’s a promotional shirt from the Eat ‘Em And Smile tour.

    1. David Lee Roth has actually acknowledged the fact that he based his on stage persona on Jim Dandy (and apparently later denied it). Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Mangrum:

      Hitman: David Lee Roth claims that you were a major influence on him for his stage persona, who influenced you? And how much of what you see on stage is you or a persona?

      JDM: Oh man, a lot of cats are claiming they got from me, I don’t know about that. Sometimes he said he did, sometimes he said he didn’t. But the saying is “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” If you watched me, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out. I mean I came out there playing that scrub board like Chuck Berry playing his guitar. Elvis, he was having more fun than any human being I ever saw. Man I told my grandmother that’s what I wanted to be, and she said “Who do you think you are”, and I’d say, “it’s not who I am, but who I’m going to be”…it’s the dream. Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and James Brown. I mean all those cats were moving on the stage, not standing still…I mean playing to the audience, actually playing through the audience, getting that message out there. Spreading that rock n’ roll.

      1. When Roy Orbison appeared live on stage, he walked up to the microphone, performed his songs, took his many encores and walked off. He just stood there, no moving around, no glitz or glitter and left the audience totally astounded.

  8. I remember seeing Black Oak opening for Blue Oyster Cult in Vegas at the Aladdin. (Late 70’s, early 80’s) Never heard of them, 10 rows back… the band started up with “Hot and Nasty”… WOW, out comes Jim Dandy with the “guitar wall” of sound and chest thumping double bass drums of Tommy Aldridge… The hairs on the back of my neck were standing straight up…, GOOD GOD, I was hooked!!! By the time Blue Oyster Cult came out I was exhausted! Thank you Black Oak Arkansas and Blue Oyster Cult for a GREAT rock show!’

  9. Best live rock show i ever saw was Black Oak. Only other crowd i ever saw almost as electrified was at a Beach Boys concert. Black Oak is the untimate stage band!!!

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