Today Marks Anniversary of Van Halen’s Landmark Sixth Album
It was 36 years ago(in 1984, naturally) on January 9, when Van Halen released 1984. Or, to be more precise, MCMLXXXIV, as it appeared on the record cover. It was this album(along with their self-titled debut), that became their bestselling album, selling more than 10,000,000 copies.
On Van Halen's previous album, Diver Down, Eddie Van Halen wanted to experiment with their signature sound and feature extensive use of keyboards. Both lead singer David Lee Roth and producer Ted Templeman discouraged Eddie out of that decision, but Eddie remained dissatisfied.
Following Diver Down's release, Eddie actually built his own studio in his backyard(naming it 5150-but that's another story) so he could experiment with keyboards all he wanted. While waiting for tape machines and other equipment to be fully installed, Eddie started messing around with synthesizers to pass the time. Then he began writing the framework for songs that would feature keyboards more extensively.
The result was a compromise: more keyboard-heavy songs, while also featuring the heavy hard rock that Van Halen was known for. Needless to say, all the experimenting paid off, as 1984 was a smashing success. Featuring their only #1 hit(at least till this point), "Jump", plus top-20 hits, "I'll Wait" and "Panama" and one of my favorite video's from that year, "Hot For Teacher". I swear, MTV had all of the videos from 1984 on heavy rotation.
And, if you were tired of the hits, the album also featured some top-drawer hard rock, including, "Girl Gone Bad", "Drop Dead Legs", and "House of Pain", which definitely got me through those teenage years. Happy Anniversary Eddie, Alex, Michael and, of course, Diamond Dave. Thanks for the music.