1984 (stylized as MCMLXXXIV) is the sixth studio album by American rock band Van Halen, released on January 9, 1984. It was the last Van Halen studio album until A Different Kind of Truth (2012) to feature lead singer David Lee Roth, who left the band in 1985 following creative differences.
The cover art was created by graphic artist Margo Nahas. It was not specifically commissioned; Nahas had been asked to create a cover that featured four chrome women dancing, but declined due to the creative difficulties. Her husband brought her portfolio to the band anyway, and from that material they chose the painting of a putto stealing cigarettes that was used. The model was Carter Helm, who was the child of one of Nahas’ best friends, whom she photographed holding a candy cigarette. The front cover was censored in the UK at the time of the album’s release. It featured a sticker that obscured the cigarette in the putto’s hand and the pack of cigarettes. The back cover features all four band members individually with 1984 in a green futuristic font.
1984 peaked at number 2 on the Billboard album charts, (behind Michael Jackson‘s Thriller, which featured an Eddie Van Halen guitar solo on “Beat It“,) and remained there for 5 straight weeks. It contained the anthems “Jump“, “Panama“, “I’ll Wait” and “Hot for Teacher“. “Jump” reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. 1984 is the second of two Van Halen albums to have achieved RIAA Diamond status, selling over ten million copies in the United States. Their debut Van Halen was the first. “Jump” went on to be certified Gold in April 1984, only months after the album’s release.
The album’s follow-up singles – the synth-driven “I’ll Wait”, and “Panama”, each peaked at Billboard number 13 on the Pop charts, respectively, in March and June. “Hot for Teacher” was a moderate Billboard Hot 100 success, reaching number 56; the MTV video for “Hot for Teacher” became even more popular. The “Hot for Teacher” video, which was directed by Roth, stars preteen lookalikes of the four Van Halen band members; a stereotypical nerd named “Waldo”; David Lee Roth as Waldo’s bus driver; and numerous teachers stripping.
To promote the album, the band ran a contest on MTV. The contest was called, “Lost Weekend” with Van Halen. Fans mailed over 1 million postcards to MTV in hopes of winning the contest. In the promo for MTV, David Lee Roth said, “You won’t know where you are, you won’t know what’s going to happen, and when you come back, you’re not gonna have any memory of it.” Kurt Jeffries won the contest and was flown to Detroit to join the band. Jeffries was allowed to bring along his best friend. He was given a Lost Weekend T-shirt and a hat. He was also brought on stage and had a large sheet cake smashed in his face which was followed by about a dozen people pouring champagne on him.
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