Approaching 40: Jump

Van Halen’s “Jump” is a kind of transitionary song for me. And a big transition it was. In October 1983, after living in Warwick, Rhode Island for four years, we moved again, this time to Granada Hills, California, a suburb of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley. Shortly after we moved, Van Halen’s “Jump” was released and was an immediate hit. I can remember listening to it, and I love it.

And now here, my memory is all confused. I could swear that I first heard the song the summer before we moved to Los Angeles. We had a friend who lived near my grandparent’s who was a wiz at the keyboard. He could play “Jump” (and many other songs) and to my ears, it sounded as if I was hearing it on the radio. In fact, he taught me how to play the song on the keyboard, chords and all, and to this day, it is the only song I was every able to play on a musical instrument.

When I hear the song, it reminds me mostly of my last days on the east coast (we spent most of the summer of 1983 at my grandparents house) and the very early days in Los Angeles. It’s one of those songs, like Def Leppard’s “Photograph“, that I love listening to, and for which I crank up the volume when the song is playing.

Moving to L.A. was a bit of a disorienting experience for me–at least at first. And yet we moved at a time in which it was very interesting to live in Los Angeles, as you shall soon see.



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