Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


The Worst Single of All Time?

Before I give it away, I have to ask you a question.

Have you ever heard a song by one of your favorite bands and upon listening to it for the first time, you instantly knew that you and the band had grown apart and were headed for a divorce?

Welcome to my world in the year 1984.

After championing said band to all of my friends and enjoying their tunes many times over, I about PUKED the first time I heard "Jump" by Van Halen.


Where in the hell did this piece of schlock come from?

Well, after some thought and some years of reflection, it's pretty apparent as to where it started for them and that's the same place that it ended for me.

As you probably know, Eddie Van Halen contributed the guitar solo to Michael Jackson's "Beat It." What you may not know it that he did it free of charge as in "No Royalties for Eddie, Thanks for Coming and See You Later."

Having watched piles of blow and fast cars and fluff chicks go right out the door based on that decision along with seeing the potential for "Arena-Rock" singles growing by the minute, Eddie jumped right on that soon-to-be runaway train and got himself a piece of the pie by writing the biggest piece of garbage Van Halen has ever produced.

As referenced in a Wikipedia entry about the song, David Lee Roth and Ted Templeman, producer extraordinaire (Montrose, Van Morrison, Little Feat, and the Doobie Brothers when they were still good), wanted to continue taking the band down the hard-rock road.

Eddie was blinded by the dollar signs in his eyes, resisted their request and insisted on releasing one of the worst singles of all time.

Let's look at what preceded this and what came later.

After their phenomenal debut album, the band was on the road so much and in an altered state of mind so often, they never again issued an album that was fully mature and complete. Van Halen II and Women and Children First both contain great rock moments ("Dead or Alive, Take Your Whiskey Home") but they have so many moments that reek of demos and ideas that were not fully realized.

Knowing this and probably getting tired of Dave's personality and the hassle of being a mega-star in demand, Eddie was ready to cash in. Thus, the release of one of the worst singles of all time.

Little did we know at that time that Eddie was setting the stage for one of the worst rock bands of all time in Van Hagar, but I digress...

"Jump" is a song that would not have been nearly as offensive were it released by a band that had not produced such greatness as "Aint Talkin 'Bout Love" or "I'm On Fire." Even "Jamie's Cryin" had substance.

But coming from the guys who gave hard-rock a major kick in the ass when it was most needed, "Jump" is inexcusable and indefensible.

There have been hundreds of one-hit wonders over the past 50 years which have produced nonsense singles so I get that not every song has to be a great one. But none of them were Van Halen in 1984 disappointing their fan base so terribly. You had to be there and I know a lot of you weren't. Many of you who were likely enjoyed the tune in grade school. Enough said.

Don't even come at me with the "Bands progress and you don't so that is your problem" take. "Jump" is a SELL-OUT in every way and it stinks.

What could have been never was because Eddie got greedy and ruined a real rock and roll band. Shame on him and shame on you for digging that song.

  • Mike Hayward

    Totally agree. That album was the beginning of the end of the rockin’ VH.

  • toomuchcountry

    No question. VH truly JUMPed the Shark as a band with that tune destined for Muzak. How could that song emanate from the same creative forces that gave us Atomic Punk? Our local sports talk radio show STILL uses Jump as his top of the hour bumper music. Has been for over 15 years. But as bad as it is, I suggest “We Built This City” by Starship as THE worst single of all time.

  • polk

    I concur. ‘Jump’ is so universally baleful that my mom dug it, and still does.

    Let’s be honest though: there are one or two worthy moments on 1984. Case in point: ‘Drop Dead Legs’. That song kicks a**. It’s the stuff DLR and the boys were born to do.

    But again, those $#(^*&@ synthesizers the Eddie used…aarrggh. Chowderhead.

  • Jeanne

    Crap…that video makes me laugh. C.H.E.E.S.E

  • Bridget

    “Why Can’t I” off Liz Phair’s 2003 comeback album “I am Avril”, or um, I mean self-titled.

    Not only was it the inevitable disappointment that any comeback album would have been to my 1994 memories…it was also like Liz Phair rubbed my ears in glass and then peed on them.

  • Matt Wardlaw

    I never really minded “Jump” and the whole 1984 album…probably because it was my intro to VH. Oh yeah, and I’m also a big Van Hagar fan…but you know that.

    Bridget – I dunno if you’ve kept up with Liz post-S/T, but there was a great bonus track for Somebody’s Miracle called “Can’t Get Out Of What I’m Into” that sounds awfully old school Liz to me.

  • Layla

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, I can remember the exact spot I was driving when I heard “Jump” for the first time. I was appalled. I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. I have to admit, it did grow on me and I love the video that shows off David’s athletic ability.

  • Swapmeet Louie

    I loved figuring out the synth solo on my Yamaha DX-27, but have to say that Eddie’s grinnin’ in the video always turned me off.

    Then the Pointer Sisters released their own “Jump (For my love)” song and then Wham! broke up…

    I miss my DX-27.

    What was I talking about???

  • Bridget

    Matt – I refuse to have my heartbroken again, I’m not even going to try.

  • Pingback: ickmusic » The Friday Five: May 15, 2009()

  • Michael

    Oh..Get over yourself.. 😉

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