Bizarre Story Behind Van Halen’s MCMLXXXIV Album Cover

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Widely known as 1984, Van Halen’s best-selling album of all-time MCMLXXXIV became famous not only for having hit singles, such as Jump, Panama, and Hot For Teacher, but also for having one of the best album covers in history. Released on January 9, 1984, the album’s cover that featured a blue-eyed devil/cherub/angel boy with a pack of smoke and wings is now a classic painting.

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This classic masterpiece was created by an artist named Margo Nahas. Originally, the band asked Margo to create a painting of four dancing ladies for the cover. But, due to “reflective intricacies” associated with the painting, she declined the job. So, Jay Vigon, Margo’s husband, decided to take her portfolio and show it to the band instead.

While looking over Margo’s work, the members of the band, including Alex Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen, and David Lee Roth, came across the image of an angel. They instantly fell in love with it.

Margo got the inspiration for her painting from her love of angels and devils. She wanted to create something that looked both real and unreal, so she combined both. And then, she asked her friend to take photos of Carter Helm, her 2-year-old son, holding candy cigarettes. To complete her vision of the painting, Margo added wings, a beautiful blue sky, and a marble table.

Margo currently sells original prints of the image on her website.

Below is the actual photo of Carter, the young boy that served as an inspiration for Margo’s painting and later became the iconic album cover of Van Halen’s 1984.
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This is Carter Helm now.

Carter Helm Van Halen 1984 Album Cover Boy

Check out these classic videos from Van Halen’s 1984:

Jump

Panama

Hot For Teacher

Hot For Teacher (Live at Castle Donington 8/18/84 for BBC)

I’ll Wait (Live In Montreal 4/8/84 – the only footage of this song from the 1984 tour):

MTV 1984 Lost Weekend Contest segment –the difference in stories is quite shocking!:

 

 

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