Front cover

The best thing about becoming a Van Halen fan in the mid 80′s, admittedly starting with 5150 and then learning that the only true Van Halen was David Lee Roth Van Halen, was i instantly had access to an already great catalogue (ok Diver Down was a bit sketchy).


Once i started visiting record stores in search of their back catalogue it was the cover of 1984 that stood out the most. The odd thing is it’s not the boldest of covers. The colours are all very pale and subdued and aside from the logo and roman numerals everything has a really soft feel. But the image of the baby angel (or cupid) smoking a cigarette is so iconic. It could be a kind of kitsch pop art take on Greek mythological gods. Or perhaps i’m just thinking of Prince Vultan and his merry Hawkmen from Flash Gordon.

Prince Vultan

Unfortunately the theme of the cover gets shelved and the rest of the album artwork goes all futuristic and bland. Typical band photos, 1984 written in some clichéd digital font and an abstract photo of what looks like to be the tops of ashtray bins. It makes me wonder if the art director was bi-polar or the record label after hearing the keyboard dominated sound thought the futuristic art direction better represented the album. Whatever the reason it’s a big disappointment and it’s a good thing it didn’t spill over and taint the front cover.

Back cover

Inner sleeve 1

inner sleeve 2

1984 peaked at #2 on the Billboard charts, kept from moving into the #1 spot by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Seems Eddie Van Halen had 2 successful albums in the year 1984, he also played the guitar solo on ‘Beat It’.

Van Halen: 1984

Front cover

The best thing about becoming a Van Halen fan in the mid 80′s, admittedly starting with 5150 and then learning that the only true Van Halen was David Lee Roth Van Halen, was i instantly had access to an already great catalogue (ok Diver Down was a bit sketchy).


Once i started visiting record stores in search of their back catalogue it was the cover of 1984 that stood out the most. The odd thing is it’s not the boldest of covers. The colours are all very pale and subdued and aside from the logo and roman numerals everything has a really soft feel. But the image of the baby angel (or cupid) smoking a cigarette is so iconic. It could be a kind of kitsch pop art take on Greek mythological gods. Or perhaps i’m just thinking of Prince Vultan and his merry Hawkmen from Flash Gordon.

Prince Vultan

Unfortunately the theme of the cover gets shelved and the rest of the album artwork goes all futuristic and bland. Typical band photos, 1984 written in some clichéd digital font and an abstract photo of what looks like to be the tops of ashtray bins. It makes me wonder if the art director was bi-polar or the record label after hearing the keyboard dominated sound thought the futuristic art direction better represented the album. Whatever the reason it’s a big disappointment and it’s a good thing it didn’t spill over and taint the front cover.

Back cover

Inner sleeve 1

inner sleeve 2

1984 peaked at #2 on the Billboard charts, kept from moving into the #1 spot by Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Seems Eddie Van Halen had 2 successful albums in the year 1984, he also played the guitar solo on ‘Beat It’.





8 Comments

  1. michael anthony is hot.

  2. You’re well de gay.

  3. Actually, according to David Lee Roth himself, that photo of those circular “ashtray bins” are really the backs of the huge lighting rigs that Van Halen used on their 1984 world tour.

    He spoke of them in a radio interview back in 1984 promoting the record.

    When a caller asked the question, “What the heck are those round things in the new Van Halen record?” Roth said, “It’s called an album!”

    Well, it was funny at the time…

  4. Heh, you said ‘taint’

  5. Those aren't tops of ash tray bins, those are the chrome cans of the stage show light fixtures from the 1984 tour. They are shown here unmounted and neatly placed in rows. Like this http://www.creativestagelighting.com/products/i

  6. Those aren't tops of ash tray bins, those are the chrome cans of the stage show light fixtures from the 1984 tour. They are shown here unmounted and neatly placed in rows. Like this http://www.creativestagelighting.com/products/i

  7. I’ll give you the comments on the front cover as I agree except you lost me at the flash gordon part. As crappy as it may seem by today’s standards, this was pretty cool stuff in ’84. The Oberheim Eddie used was state-of -the-art and the sounds were still created manually as opposed to today’s pre-sets. The “cliched” digital font was still pretty cool back then and the inner sleeve pic was, from an artistic point of view, pretty cool also. Remember, PCs weren’t around yet so the general public had a limited imagination as to what digital was or could do. This album came out just when things started changing. In my opinion this was the greatest blend of cutting edge(for the time) technology and finger paint & glue. Electronic Drums, “digital” keyboards, 2″ tape, balls hanging in your face rock and roll.

  8. Those chrome thingys’ are actually from a condom factory…no joke.

Post a Comment
*Required
*Required (Never published)