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Van Halen’s Jump: how the band’s biggest song was inspired by suicide, sick jokes and EVH vs DLR in-fighting

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After seven weeks in the charts, on 25 February, 1984, Van Halen’s Jump went to no.1 in the Billboard Hot 100. It was the peak of Van Halen MK1 but maybe the cover of the single – the image of a mischievous sprite with a cigarette in hand – alluded to some of the problems behind the scenes. Maybe this was a band that might experience some problems with the ageing process.

“I hate the word maturing,” singer Dave Lee Roth had told Rolling Stone in 1978. “I don’t like the word evolving, or any of that bullshit. The idea is to keep it as simplistic, as innocent, as unassuming and as stupid as possible.”

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