On this day in music history: January 9, 1984 …

On this day in music history: January 9, 1984 – “1984” (aka “MCMLXXXIV”), the sixth studio album by Van Halen is released. Produced by Ted Templeman, it is recorded at 5150 Studios in Hollywood, CA from Mid – Late 1983. Following the mixed response to their previous album “Diver Down”, guitarist Eddie Van Halen resolves to make significant changes to the bands’ trademark sound. Recording in the guitarist’s newly completed home studio 5150 (named after the Los Angeles Police Department code for a “criminally insane person”), Van Halen initially writes the bulk of the new albums’ material on his own. Incorporating keyboards as a prominent instrument, it is much to the resistance of lead singer David Lee Roth and producer Templeman, who had discouraged Van Halen from using keyboards on the previous album. A compromise between them is reached, with the finished project being a mixture of keyboard heavy songs along with the bands’ signature guitar dominant sound. An immediate smash out of the box, it goes on to become Van Halen’s most commercially successful album. It’s also the last album to feature David Lee Roth as the band’s lead singer until 2012. It spins off four singles including “Jump” (#1 Pop), “Panama” (#13 Pop), and “Hot For Teacher” (#56 Pop). The music videos for the aforementioned singles all become staples on MTV and other video outlets throughout the year and beyond. The albums’ iconic cover art of a cherub holding a cigarette is painted by graphic artist Margo Nahas. Nahas uses the child of one of her friends as the model for the painting. The album cover is censored in the UK, with Warner Bros placing a sticker over the cigarette and packet. The album is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2010, with CD remasters in 2000 and 2015. “1984” spends five weeks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, is certified 12x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.