When Van Halen released their self-titled debut album in 1978, fans hadn’t heard a guitar hero with such singular style since Jimi Hendrix shuffled off onto his final experience. Eddie Van Halen did things with his guitar that didn’t seem humanly possible – he could make it hum like a helicopter one minute and crush like a bulldozer the next. Backed by one of the hardest bands to ever plug in and turn the amps to 11, Eddie wasn’t Van Halen’s only star. With singer David Lee Roth at the mic, the group had a natural showman who wrapped 70 years’ worth of stage entertainment into one motor-mouthed fireball. Following ‘1984,’ which introduced synths to the group’s arsenal of instruments, Roth quit the band and was replaced by Sammy Hagar, a rock-music vet who gave the group some much needed melodic thrust and provided them with a series of hit records.
When Van Halen’s sixth album, ‘1984,’ arrived in stores on Jan. 9, 1984, it felt like a much-needed respite in a year that had already started under the heavy vibes of George Orwell’s dystopian novel of the same name.
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