Saturday, October 20, 2012

Song #276 of 9999 - Jump by Van Halen

Song #276 of 9999 

Title: Jump
Artist: Van Halen
Year: 1984
Album: 1984

Looking back to my youth, it's funny to think about the things that upset people when it came to music and especially the perception that a band had "sold out." By 1984, Van Halen had been around for nearly ten years and at least one member of the band was getting bored. There seemed to be no question in anyone's mind that, in the rock music world, Eddie Van Halen was the premiere guitarist, having revolutionized the lead guitar with his two-handed finger tapping techniques. With nothing left to prove, Van Halen decided to return to his roots as a classically-trained pianist and incorporate some synthesizers into the music of his eponymous band.

People were not happy. But apparently, they weren't the people who buy records because "Jump" became the band's biggest-selling single and 1984 their biggest-selling album. And really, despite the new sonic textures, not much had changed. One must remember that this is the band whose previous hits included the self-penned "Dance the Night Away" and covers "Oh! Pretty Woman," "Dancing in the Streets" and a bunch of Kinks covers that were devoid of any of the punk spirit infused by Ray and Dave Davies. Van Halen was as much a pop band as Duran Duran—they just used different tools and targeted a different (read: white, male, heterosexual...ish*) crowd.

*I mean, come on—just look at this video

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