Rock Group Van Halen Reaching The R&B Charts

I never forgot this 1984 moment.  With me and my brother in the car, I think my mom was driving to the bank.  On the radio, the local AM soul station played.  The song that played next surprised everyone in the car.  Van Halen’s “Jump” was playing. 

Van Halen

A rock song playing on a soul station surprised us. Yet, I recently learned there was more to it.  Not only did the song reach number 88 on the R&B charts, Soul Train played “Jump” for a line dance song. 

Thinking about it now, I wonder if all this had anything to do with Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, a song recorded a few years before.    Because they heard Eddie on “Beat It”, the soul audience was now familiar with Van Halen and liked group.  Was that it?  Who knows. 

By the way, “Jump” was the only time Van Halen had ever crossed to the r&b charts.

I also remember rock stations playing Prince’s “Little Red Corvette”.    Things aren’t like that anymore.  Nowadays if you hear a Prince song on a rock station, it would be a white rock group doing a cover version.  This after Prince has always been called a rock star.

I’ve always appreciated 80’s music more than I did the decade itself.  Yet, as I witness mainstream media’s still ongoing racist practices, I’m starting to see the 80’s in a whole new different light.

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