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Van Halen: Jump

Guitar virtuoso Eddie Van Halen (born Edward Lodewijk Van Halen in Amsterdam) passed away yesterday aged 65 years old. Most of American rock band Van Halen’s songs begin with Eddie Van Halen’s soaring, spectacular, immediately recognizable guitar sound. He wrote the majority of the band’s bangers and performed as lead guitarist—adulated for his incomparable (sometimes inconceivable) guitar solos, which involved plenty of tapping the fretboard. Van Halen played other instruments, including the keyboard—and carried out various arranging and production duties in the band. Infamously, he wrote the synth line for “Jump” in 1981, but it was unanimously rejected by the other members. A couple years later, producer Ted Templeman encouraged then-frontman David Lee Roth to listen to the unrecorded song. Roth wrote some lyrics (with the help of roadie Larry Hostler) and the song appeared on the band’s sixth studio album, 1984. Synths and keyboards were all but forbidden in hard rock at the time, and the song was a risky departure for the band into pop-rock territory, but it was their most beloved (reaching #1 on the Billboard charts) and Eddie Van Halen’s chords from the Oberheim OB-Xa synthesizer became iconic.


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