How Van Halen’s Iconic Album ‘1984’ Destroyed the Band

How Van Halen’s Iconic Album ‘1984’ Destroyed the Band

Fans of Van Halen lined up to purchase their now iconic album 1984 in record stores last January 9, 1984, and it has become one of the most iconic records ever released. What followed was a series of colorful performances, complete with an equally compelling press tour.

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It seemed like everything was fine with the hard-rocking quintet, but it wasn’t all rock and roll goodness after all. Rumors were circulating that there were arguments surrounding the band, particularly between their longtime producer Ted Templeman, band matriarch Eddie Van Halen, and David Lee Roth, who brought a new era to the band upon joining.

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There were subtle signs of both Van Halen and Roth’s shaky relationship, especially if one were to study how they handled being under the spotlight. While Van Halen normally shied away from the media, Roth had more of that outlandish personality. The former was reportedly irked by Templeman and Roth’s decision to exclude Van Halen’s signature keyboard instrument in the band’s former album Driver Down.

Eddie Van Halen then decided to take matters to his own hands for 1984, building his own home studio called 5150. Among the most notable tracks in the multi-platinum album was the song “Jump,” which featured Eddie’s much wanted keyboard influence. It was reported that Eddie laid down the law that the album would be recorded on his terms, which meant that even with the presence of Roth and Templeman, they weren’t going to have a say on how it was going to be produced.

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Singles from the album following “Jump” was “I’ll Wait” and the third single, “Panama,” that showcased the band’s signature guitar work that fans can remember from their earlier albums. The fourth single was another hit called “Hot for Teacher” and became one of the most played videos on MTV during that time.

While these rumors circulated the media, Van Halen was preparing for their world tour, which was to last for almost a year. Fans were reasonably worried as the tension that surrounded the band could result in a disastrous tour.

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Needless to say, Roth and Van Halen didn’t try to hide their dislike of each other for long. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Eddie recounted on the times Roth displayed his rather idiosyncratic personality by making noises in the hotel rooms of his band mates early in the morning and was a complete bother throughout their world tour.

Roth, however, denied any of these accusations and responded by saying, “There was always tension between me and Edward, . . . but then there’s always tension with me and everyone!”

And it was true.

Roth continued to mouth vulgarly to the media about everything from Duran Duran to even foreign policy laws. His band mates did not take this lightly and slowly began to alienate him from the band.

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Overall, 1984 was a hit, but even platinum sales were not enough to keep Roth and Eddie Van Halen from banging heads with each other. So on April 1, 1985, Roth quit Van Halen, citing reasons that he was unhappy with Eddie’s 5150 studio and his continued exclusion from the band. Not long after, Van Halen was quick to find a replacement with former Montrose vocalist, Sam Hagar, but that working relationship lasted for only one decade.

Roth has since reunited with his former band mates for the third time last 2006, and fans are hoping that he is going to stay for good.

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