Thirty years ago this week, Van Halen’s biggest hit started a five week run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 with “Jump.” The lead single off the group’s sixth studio album 1984, “Jump” has become a classic rock staple with that unmistakable synth opening often played at sporting events around the country.
So in honor of the song reaching No. 1 on the charts, we’re breaking down some of the little known facts behind the song that you may not have known before!
1. “Jump” was the group’s first No. 1 hit
And unfortunately their only. “Jump” rocketed to the top of the charts thirty years ago thanks to its catchy riffs and Eddie’s iconic guitar solo, but it also led to the departure of David Lee Roth. According to Val Halen’s 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, the reason for Roth’s departure from the band was mainly based on the fact Eddie built his own recording studio where he wrote the music for “Jump,” but Roth wasn’t happy with the synth-heavy track.
He said in the interview, “the first thing I did up here was ‘Jump’ and they [Roth and Templeman] didn’t like it. I said ‘take it or leave it’, I was getting sick of their ideas of what was commercial…”
Though Roth ended up writing the lyrics for the song and including it on the album, this dispute ultimately led to Roth parting ways with the band for his own solo career a year later.
2. The synth part was inspired by Hall & Oates
In an interview with Mix magazine, Daryl Hall revealed that Van Halen was inspired by the duo’s No.1 single “Kiss On My List” for the song’s famous synth melody. Hall said, “[Eddie] Van Halen told me 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.”
3. The outro guitar solo inspired another Val Halen hit
The outro guitar riff on “Jump” served as the inspiration for the main guitar intro in the group’s single “Top Of The World” from 1991’s For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. That song spent four weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Album Rock Charts.
4. “Jump” was red-flagged after 9/11
After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11th, “Jump” was one of the songs included on the controversial list of songs deemed unsuitable for radio because of inappropriate titles or questionable lyrics. Previously, Roth has explained in interviews that the meaning behind the song was inspired by a TV news story he saw about a man threatening to jump off a building.
5. The music video won an MTV VMA
The low-budget video filmed on 8mm and directed by Pete Angelus and Roth features the group performing a mock concert in front of the camera. The video showed off Roth’s incredible agility and stage presence with signature moves like jump/spin kicks, flips and the slow-mo “spread eagle” high jump during the guitar solo. The video won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Stage Performance Video at the very first VMAs in 1984, though that category was later discontinued.
Now that you know more behind the song, re-watch this classic video and “Jump” along with Van Halen below!
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