VAN HALEN – 1984

Van Halen – 1984 [Remastered] (2000, Warner Bros. Records)
Original Release: 1984, Warner Bros. Records

1. “1984” … 1:07
2. “Jump” … 4:04
3. “Panama” … 3:32
4. “Top Jimmy” … 3:00
5. “Drop Dead Legs” … 4:14
6. “Hot for Teacher” … 4:44
7. “I’ll Wait” … 4:45
8. “Girl Gone Bad” … 4:35
9. “House of Pain” … 3:19

David Lee Roth – Lead Vocals
Eddie Van Halen – Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Michael Anthony – Bass, Backing Vocals
Alex Van Halen – Drums, Percussion

Producer: Ted Templeman

What can I say about this album that hasn’t been said over the last 25 years plus for this diamond status (that’s 10 MILLION plus albums sold) album? It’s an undisputed rock classic and essential Van Halen (though I wouldn’t say it’s their best). It opened a lot of doors for rock ‘n’ roll to become even more mainstream and with keyboard-heavy songs like “1984”, “Jump” and “I’ll Wait”, the band blurred the line between hard rock and pop music than they ever had before. Not that that’s a bad thing.

Every song is great except one… “Top Jimmy”. That one has always been filler to my ears. I don’t hate it, it’s not even one of the band’s worst songs, but it really pales in comparison to the rest of the album. “House of Pain” sounds like something that would fit right in on Fair Warning and if “Drop Dead Legs” or “Girl Gone Bad” were released as singles, they would’ve been huge hits. Then again, at this point, pretty much anything with the band’s name on it would have been a hit.

It’s hard to pick an absolute favorite from this album. The four singles (“Jump”, “Panama”, “Hot for Teacher”, “I’ll Wait”) are the best. That’s the easy part, but I can’t say which of those four is superior. It’s like trying to choose your favorite child!

Though this was the peak of commercial success for the band, it was also one of their most tumultuous times internally and egos eventually forced David Lee Roth to quit the band and pursue a solo career in 1985. What’s funny about this is that a contributing factor to Dave leaving was that he apparently wasn’t happy with the poppy sound of the album and Eddie relying on keyboards so much but then in his own solo career he relied on covers of songs like “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo” and turned in a number of pop rock albums.

Highlights: C’mon, it’s 1984! Everything is a highlight… except “Top Jimmy”!

Posted on December 10, 2009, in Van Halen and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. it is funny you mention that “Drop Dead Legs” could have fit on “Fair Warning” since I have a bootleg CD of their demos that song and “House of Pain” are both on the bootleg which claims the recordings are from 1976-1979.

    “Top Jimmy” is a song I do like it is about on one David Lee Roth’s favorite performers in the Sunset Strip who never made past the club level but Roth paid tribute to him in this tune. Sadly Top Jimmy would pass away a few years after this song was released.

  2. I like Top Jimmy, but I like the whole album. I think I wore out two copies of this on cassette years ago.

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