Released: Jan. 9, 1984
1984 (written as MCMLXXXIV on the album’s front cover) is the sixth studio album by American hard rockband Van Halen. It remains Van Halen’s most successful album in terms of sales, with 10 million copies shipped in the U.S. alone, and U.S. chart performance. 1984 reached number two on the Billboard 200album chart and remained there for five weeks, behind Michael Jackson’s Thriller, on which Eddie Van Halenplayed guitar. It produced several memorable singles, including “Jump”, which reached the top of the BillboardHot 100 singles chart, the top 13 hits “Panama” and “I’ll Wait”, and the MTV sensation “Hot for Teacher”. 1984was the last, full-length Van Halen album to feature the band’s iconic frontman David Lee Roth until 2012’s A Different Kind of Truth and the final full-length album with all four original members.
Reportedly dissatisfied by the concessions he had made to Van Halen’s frontman David Lee Roth and producer Ted Templeman on the group’s previous album, the #3 Billboard album hit Diver Down – both of whom had discouraged Eddie Van Halen from making keyboards a prominent instrument in Van Halen’s music – Eddie Van Halen built his own studio in his backyard. Eddie Van Halen named that studio 5150 (after the Los Angeles police code for “escaped mental patient.”) At 5150, Eddie Van Halen composed Van Halen’s follow-up to Diver Down – without as much perceived “interference” from Roth or Templeman. The result was a compromise between the two creative factions in the band – a mixture of keyboard-heavy songs, and the intense rock for which the band had become world famous.
In Rolling Stone’s retrospective review of 1984 in its 100 greatest albums of the 1980s, producer Ted Templeman said, “It’s real obvious to me [why 1984 won Van Halen a broader and larger audience.] Eddie Van Halen discovered the synthesizer.” The review continues, “The foursome had been selling out arenas for more than a decade on the basis of Eddie’s virtuosic, fleet-fingered guitar playing, singer David Lee Roth’s blunt, raunchy lyrics and the brute force of Michael Anthony’s bass and Alex Van Halen’s drums. But 1984, abetted by tunes that swirled elements of synth pop into metal — most evidently on the hit single “Jump” — and by a string of campy, low-budget videos that found favor on MTV, carried Van Halen to a new plateau of popularity. No longer viewed as threatening to those with a chronic fear of metal, the band somehow became amusing and even endearing to middle America.
“At the time, Eddie was in the process of building his own studio with Don Landee, the band’s longtime engineer (and now its producer). While boards and tape machines were being installed, the guitarist began fiddling around on synthesizers to pass the time. “There were no presets,” says Templeman. “He would just twist off until it sounded right.” 
1984 features Van Halen’s most prominent use of keyboards to date, particularly on the album’s first two hit singles “Jump” and “I’ll Wait”, as well as the album’s one-minute synthesizer and effects instrumental, “1984”, (which had been previously incorporated into bassist Michael Anthony’s solo on Van Halen’s 1982 world tour.)
The summer saw the release of the album’s third single “Panama”, which featured a heavy guitar riff reminiscent of Van Halen’s earlier work (the engine noise was from Eddie revving up his Lamborghini, with microphones being used near the tailpipes). Later, a video of “Hot for Teacher” was released and played regularly on MTV, giving the band a fourth hit which further sustained sales of the album. Other songs on 1984 included “Girl Gone Bad”, parts of which previously had been played during the 1982 Tour amidst performances of “Somebody Get Me a Doctor” (most famously at the US Festival show), the hard rock “Drop Dead Legs” and “Top Jimmy”, a tribute to James Paul Koncek of the band Top Jimmy & The Rhythm Pigs. The album concludes with “House of Pain”, a fiery, heavy metal song that dates back to the band’s early club days of the mid-1970s. (A slightly different version of “House of Pain” was recorded by the band years prior to the album’s released. The song was demoed when the band recorded material for Gene Simmons.)
During an interview for the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio show in 1985,[specify] Eddie claimed to have written, “Girl Gone Bad” in a hotel room that he andValerie Bertinelli had rented. Valerie was asleep, and Eddie woke up during the night with an idea, he had to put on tape. Not wanting to wake Valerie, Eddie grabbed a small cassette recorder and recorded himself playing guitar while in the closet.
Eddie Van Halen claims to have written the arrangement for “Jump” several years before 1984 was recorded – in a 1995 cover story in Rolling Stone, Eddie Van Halen claimed that Roth had rejected the now-famous synth riff for Jump for at least two years before agreeing to write lyrics to it. In his memoir Crazy From The Heat, Roth confirms Eddie’s account, admitting a preference for Van Halen’s guitar work; however, he claims to now enjoy the song. Additionally in his memoir, Roth writes that he wrote the now-famous lyrics to Jump after watching a man waffle as to whether to commit suicide by jumping off of a skyscraper.