Eddie Van Halen states producer Ted Templeman only cared about “Jump” off ‘1984’
This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the release of Van Halen‘s diamond certified smash album 1984.
Eddie Van Halen was asked what was the first song that the group recorded for 1984 to which he replied: “That was “Jump.” Once Ted [Templeman] heard that song, he was full-hog in. He said, “That’s great! Let’s go to work.” When I first played “Jump” for the band, nobody wanted to have anything to do with it. Dave [Lee Roth] said that I was a guitar hero and I shouldn’t be playing keyboards. My response was if I want to play a tuba or Bavarian cheese whistle, I will do it.
As soon as Ted was onboard with “Jump” and said that it was a stone-cold hit, everyone started to like it more. But Ted really only cared about “Jump.” He didn’t care much about the rest of the record. He just wanted that one hit.”
With respect to “Jump” and some of the other songs, Eddie Van Halen commented: “I wrote “Jump” on a Sequential Circuits Prophet-10 in my bedroom while the studio was being built. Every time I got the sound that I wanted on the right-hand split section of the keyboard, it would start smoking and pop a fuse. I got another one and the same thing happened. A guy I knew said I should try an Oberheim OB-Xa, so I bought one of those and got the sound I wanted.
I always carried a microcassette recorder with me. I recorded my idea for “Girl Gone Bad” by humming and whistling into it in the closet of a hotel room while Valerie [Bertinelli] was sleeping. I pretty much wrote the entire song in that state, and then when I got home I put it all together.
When the guys once asked me to write something with an AC/DC beat, that ended up being “Panama.” It really doesn’t sound that much like AC/DC, but that was my interpretation of it.
For “Top Jimmy” I had a melody in my head and I tuned the guitar to that melody. Steve Ripley had sent me one of his stereo guitars that had 90 million knobs and switches on it. That was too much for me to comprehend, so I asked him for a simpler version. He sent me one with a humbucker in the bridge and two single-coils at the middle and neck positions. It was just a prototype.
For some strange reason I picked up that guitar, tuned it to “Top Jimmy,” and that’s what I ended up using, because it sounded interesting. That rhythm lick I play after the harmonics sounds cool ping-ponging back and forth. You can’t really hear it unless you’re wearing headphones. It just fit the track.”