This Week In The 80’s: And I Know, Baby, Just How You Feel…
It’s the first of March, 1984. I’m in eighth grade and about a week out from turning fourteen. Looking at the chart this week, the Top 10 is a veritable “Greatest Hits of The 80’s” album all by it’s self. “I Want A New Drug“, “Wrapped Around Your Finger“, “Karma Chameleon“, “Thriller“, “Girls Just Wan To Have Fun“, “99 Luft Balloons“? Wow. You could put all of those on repeat and never get tired. Even further down you have “New Moon on Monday“, “Footloose“, “Talking In Your Sleep“, “Owner of A Lonely Heart” and “Hold Me Now“. Not only are there some great songs listed there, there are some GREAT videos in that list. I’ve long believed that 1983 is the greatest year for 80’s music but, after writing about and looking at the charts the past four or five years, the needle has started to move on that opinion in the direction of 1984. You should look up some of the charts for ’84 and see for yourself.
1983 was a big year for me, musically, however. It was the year I really discovered music. My parents tried and tried to keep me from listening to “rock n’ roll” music but the dam broke open in 1983. It was the year I started incorporating music into just about everything I did. One of the high points was discovering Night Ranger and falling in love with the guitar thanks to Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson. But in January of 1984, a song started playing on the radio that caught my attention and changed my world, literally. That song sits at the top of the chart the week. Ladies and gentlemen, “Jump” by the mighty Van Halen.
I had never heard Van Halen before this song. I had heard OF them but nothing of their music. I remember going to my friend Wade’s house and hearing the 1984 album for the first time. That was the gateway drug. After that, I had to hear all their other albums. And while I wouldn’t get a guitar for another year, I knew right then and there I had to learn how to play guitar like Eddie Van Halen.
This was Van Halen’s first #1 hit in America, and their only #1 with David Lee Roth as lead singer. At some point in 1981, Eddie Van Halen had written the keyboard part that would eventually become this song. David Lee Roth didn’t like the idea of Eddie playing keyboards and it became a point of contention within the band. Eddie wanted to use it, but lead singer David Lee Roth thought it would look like they were selling out to get more radio play (using a synthesizer instead of a guitar as the lead instrument was a huge departure for Van Halen). Even the video for the song inflamed the tensions within the band. The video won Best Stage Performance Video at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984.
Daryl Hall said that the Hall & Oates song “Kiss On My List” was an influence on this song. Said Hall: “Eddie told me once that he copied the synth part from ‘Kiss on My List’ and used it in ‘Jump.’ I don’t have a problem with that at all.” Eddie has also said they used the outro guitar solo for this song to come up with the riff for Van Halen’s later hit “Standing On Top (Of The World).”
This Week In The 80’s is a weekly look at the Top 40 charts with Eric Vardeman. His Twitter handle is @ericvardeman.