When Van Halen released the half-hearted Diver Down in 1982 they were already one of the most popular hard rock bands on the planet, but when they put out their sixth studio album two years later, they instantly became a mainstream phenomenon. Interestingly, 1984, which came out on January 9, 1984, is the band’s most popular release to date, having sold more than 20 million copies, yet it never reached No. 1 on the Billboard album chart. Blame Michael Jackson’s Thriller for keeping 1984 at No. 2 for five straight weeks.
1984 marked Van Halen’s transition from a guitar-driven hard rock band into a more accessible outfit and a hit-making machine. The album featured four hugely successful singles, “Jump,” “I’ll Wait,” “Panama” and “Hot For Teacher.” It was also the last Van Halen album vocalist David Lee Roth sang on until he rejoined for 2012’s A Different Kind of Truth.