The late Eddie Van Halen left behind some of rock music’s most memorable hit songs over a Billboard chart career that spanned five decades.
The multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and singer rode the top of the charts alongside his namesake band Van Halen, scoring five No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart and more than 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, including the 1984 smash single “Jump.”
“Jump” is Van Halen’s biggest hit ever on the Hot 100, having spent five weeks at No. 1 on the list. It leads the act’s top 10 biggest singles on the chart (see list below). “Jump,” driven by Eddie’s instantly recognizable synthesizer hook that runs through the song, hit No. 1 on the weekly Hot 100 dated Feb. 25, 1984. Its success came less than a year after Eddie was heard on another No. 1 hit, Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” The track topped the chart on April 30, 1983, and features a searing guitar solo from Eddie. “Beat It” racked up three weeks at No. 1.
Here is a look at Van Halen’s top 10 biggest hits on the Hot 100 songs chart:
Rank, Title, Peak Position, Peak Year
- “Jump,” No. 1 (for five weeks), 1984
- “Why Can’t This Be Love,” No. 3, 1986
- “When It’s Love,” No. 5, 1988
- “Finish What Ya Started,” No. 13, 1988
- “(Oh) Pretty Woman,” No. 12, 1982
- “I’ll Wait,” No. 13, 1984
- “Panama,” No. 13, 1984
- “Love Walks In,” No. 22, 1986
- “Dance the Night Away,” No. 15, 1979
- “Dreams,” No. 22, 1986
On Van Halen’s all-time top 10 biggest Hot 100 hits list, “Jump” is followed by “Why Can’t This Be Love,” which was the band’s first single with singer Sammy Hagar, after former singer David Lee Roth departed the group in 1984. Van Halen’s top 10 biggest hits are split evenly between Roth and Hagar. The former sings on Nos. 1, 5, 6, 7 and 9, while Hagar is heard on the remaining cuts.
The band had a famously complicated history with its lead singers. Hagar left the group in 1996, and Roth returned briefly that same year, only to be replaced by Gary Cherone. The latter would stay with the group until 1999. Eventually, Hagar came back to the act for a stint from 2003 to 2005, with Roth returning in 2007. Roth stayed with the band this time, and was on board for the group’s final studio album together, A Different Kind of Truth, in 2012.
The only two constants in Van Halen from the group’s proper launch in 1974 was Eddie and his brother Alex, the group’s drummer. (Michael Anthony was the band’s bassist from 1974 to 2007, replaced by Eddie’s son Wolfgang.) “Jump” was lifted from Van Halen’s hugely successful album titled 1984, which became the group’s then-highest charting album, spending five non-consecutive weeks at No. 2 in 1984. (Three of those runner-up weeks were behind Jackson’s Thriller album, which included “Beat It.”)
1984 is one of Van Halen’s 16 charting albums on the Billboard 200, and all 16 of those sets reached the top 20. Further, every one of Van Halen’s 14 charting albums between 1979 and 2012 reached the top 10 — from Van Halen II in 1979 through A Different Kind of Truth in 2012. The only Van Halen albums that missed the top 10 were the act’s self-titled debut, peaking at No. 19 in 1978, and the live album Tokyo Dome Live in Concert in 2015 (No. 20).
The arrival of Hagar to the band also brought the act its first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, with Hagar’s first studio set with the act, 1986’s 5150. The set spent three weeks at No. 1 that year. All four of the studio albums Hagar recorded with the band reached No. 1: 5150, OU812 (No. 1 for four weeks in 1988), For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (No. 1 for three weeks in 1991) and Balance (No. 1 for one week in 1995). The band yielded one more No. 1 album, with the greatest hits set Best of Volume 1 in 1996. The album spent one week at No. 1, and included hits from both the Hagar and Roth eras, and boasted two new recordings with Roth (who had briefly reunited with the band in 1996).
On Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart, which ranks the week’s most-played songs on mainstream rock radio, Van Halen has quite the blockbuster catalog of hits. The band first reached the chart in May of 1981, just two months after that chart itself launched in March of that year. (Van Halen got its first hit single on any Billboard chart in 1978 with its cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” reaching No. 36 that year on the Hot 100.)
On Mainstream Rock Songs, the group has racked up 47 hits, with 26 of those reaching the top 10, and 13 of them hitting No. 1. Among their No. 1s: “Jump,” “When It’s Love,” “Poundcake,” “Humans Being” and “Me Wise Magic.” Van Halen also holds the record for the most No. 1s on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart in 1990s, with eight leaders that decade. (Van Halen has the third-most No. 1s in the entire history of the chart, trailing only Shinedown and Three Days Grace, with 16 and 15 leaders, respectively.)
Van Halen’s top 10 Biggest Hot 100 hits list is based on actual performance on the weekly Hot 100 chart, through the Oct. 10, 2020, rankings. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at lower ranks earning lesser values. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, certain eras are weighted to account for different chart turnover rates over various periods.