Van Halen – Jump
So can't ya see me standing here
I got my back against the record machine
I ain't the worst that you've seen
Ah, can't you see what I mean?
Ah, might as well jump (jump)
“Jump” is a hit that really embodies the spirit of 80’s and the spirit of Summer, despite actually being released exactly at the beginning of winter, December 21, 1983. Every time we hear this intro, we fly to those Summers full of a mood that today seems lost, or perhaps struggling to resist again in these 80s chronicles.
The song is part of the album “1984”, which in fact was released a few weeks after the single, that is, on January 9, 1984. Curiously, Van Halen were very proud to have released one album per year since 1978. With this album, however, the tradition broke down, because, for a few days, they failed to make an album in 1983. This great song, during its realization, is an occasion of strong disagreement between Eddie Van Halen (who creates the music) and singer David Lee Roth (who will then add the lyrics), with the latter who did not want a song with the synthesizer as main instrument.
Eddie, who had the famous keyboard riff ready since 1981, does not lose his focus and, over the course of a night, records it and then presents the hit felt to the whole group, getting the green light. This masterpiece still needs lyrics, which will then be added by David. In fact, the addition, for the first time, of keyboards and synthesizers in a rock song took Van Halen away from their traditional sound, but perhaps it was also one of the reasons why this song was a worldwide success, far better than all previous songs.
“Go ahead and jump!”: this is what comes to mind, witnessing on TV the images of a suicidal aspirant not fully convinced; at least, that’s what David Lee Roth says, nut we know he is recognized for being a great storyteller. And in fact in 2010 an English deejay got into trouble for playing the song in a similar situation: a woman was threatening to jump off a bridge, and the police had closed many lanes causing long queues.
The news was already in the public when a driver called the radio and requested this song,which was finally played. The lady jumped exactly in those minutes. It should be added, however, that on other occasions David Lee Roth recounted different stories about the creation of “Jump”.
Actually, the text is quite a positivist, and invites you to hold on even in the worst adversity, throwing yourself into the new without thinking too much about it. We shall remember that the text is written by David Lee Roth, whose artistic figure often and willingly crossed luxorious images and contents (remember his version of “California Girls”?), so these verses could easily be traced back to more playful intent.
However, this fantastic hit also marked the period when the collaboration between Van Halen and David Lee Roth ended, and from the following albums the singer will be replaced by Sammy Hagar.
David Lee Roth also directed the music video for the song. Today the video for “Jump” is considered simply a historical video, but it is worth making a couple of considerations. First, it was certainly a low-budget video. Before “Jump”, Van Halen had never made it to the top of the charts, and certainly the group’s choice to self-direct was also dictated by cost constraints.
Today it’s easy to think that a rock band makes such a video, but the risk of epic fail was really just around the corner. If we think about it, the bass player playing almost on his knees, or the lead guitar pointing straight into the camera, are very risky moves: if you’re a mediocre group, you look ridiculous, like thinking you’re a world star, and maybe you’re just singing and playing, maybe even bad, a probably ugly song.
However, if you have the charisma of David Lee Roth, if your group is Van Halen with Eddie on guitar, and if the song you’re playing is irresistible like “Jump,” here’s how a low-budget video can take you to the top of the charts around the world, and you become an absolute icon of the 80s.
David Lee Roth wanted to include in the video other scenes that saw him as the absolute protagonist backstage
or at other locations, but the group disagreed, and from this came further tensions in a team that was already fighting for everything. The are some nice legends about this, but they are other stories from the 1980s.
However, “Jump” remains an iconic song that really launched van Halen into the history of this wonderful decade.
Van Halen on Wikipedia