VAN HALEN 1984: Spotlight Album

Van-Halen-1984The David Lee Roth era of Van Halen ended with a bang. After five studio albums, Van Halen found their biggest commercial success with the release of 1984. The California rockers officially joined the ranks of 80’s icons after selling over 10 million copies (Diamond Status) of this landmark album. Not only did they score their first #1 hit, Jump, multiple low-budget music videos from the CD became huge hits during the early days of MTV.

van-halen-jumpVan Halen has always been known for Eddie’s finger-tapping, high energy, fluid guitar solos. Add in a frontman extraordinaire, toss in a little Sunset Strip grime with the dynamic rhythm section of Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band was selling out stadiums worldwide. But, by 1983, Eddie wasn’t content to be known as the “greatest rock guitarist on the planet”, he wanted to experiment with keyboards and synthesizers. David Lee Roth and producer, Ted Templeton, didn’t care for Eddie’s dabble into pop and a rift between the band was growing. Which direction would the band take? Who would win the battle in the studio?

Van-Halen-1984bThe production on 1984 became the Hatfields vs the McCoys. The final verdict: Half the album appeased Eddie and featured synthesizers and a lighter sound. Roth and Templeton kept the other half on the album in the traditional Van Halen metal sound. While it may sound like a disjointed mess, the combination ignited the appeal the band. New fans were attracted to songs like Jump, I’ll Wait, and Hot For Teacher. Rockers loved the solos on Panama, Top Jimmy, and a powerful heavy metal rewrite of an early VH song, House Of Pain.

Van+HalenThe album spent five weeks at #2, yet never reached the magical #1 plateau. Michael Jackson’s Thriller dominated the charts, ironically helped by Eddie’s hard rock guitar solo on Beat It. 1984 is unlike any other Van Halen CD and by adding in new fans, 1984 was the perfect gateway for the Sammy Hagar era to follow. David Lee Roth rejoined the band in 2011 for a new CD, A Different Kind Of Truth but it pales in comparison to the brilliance of 1984.