In 1983, Van Halen was one of rock's beloved and outlandish outfits. The band changed the sound of metal with Eddie Van Halen's hammering guitar solos, Alex Van Halen's head-knocking drum rhythms and all the cocky-cool slyness of leotard-wearing lead singer David Lee Roth. Hits "Runnin' With The Devil," "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love" and "Eruption" set the band's tone with blistering electric runs and breakneck bass, but with "Jump," people were staring at their radios, mouth agape unable to believe what they heard. Was that a keyboard?
"Oh, we upset everybody," Roth tells Billboard Dance. "Most of the best Van Halen material is eminently danceable ... I go dancing regularly on Saturday nights, because this is the kind of music that I dance to. Eddie Van Halen and I have clashed for decades, because I have never been a rock fan. When I auditined for the band, I had to go learn 'Smoke On The Water,' because it wasn't in my record collection. [I started] with Motown leading up to everything that was Superfly and everything that became Saturday Night Fever in its stead."
Roth won any argument over synthesizers and four-on-the-floor. "Jump" became Van Halen's biggest hit, shining its synth-rock disco light in the No. 1 spot of the Hot 100 for five weeks. Now, 35 years later, Roth's victory shines even brighter with a blissful remix from trance favorite Armin van Buuren.