Epic five-part documentary focusing on Van Halen's crucial 1983-1984 period announced

David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen perform onstage with Van Halen in San Diego, California on May 21, 1984
(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

1983 and 1984 were two of the most pivotal years in Van Halen's four-decade-plus career.

It was a period that saw Eddie Van Halen build 5150 Studios – a location that would serve as the electric guitar hero's headquarters and creative laboratory for the rest of his life – and Van Halen play their biggest gig ever at the mammoth US Festival.

Of course, it also saw them record 1984, a smash hit album that contained their first and only chart-topping hit, the synth-powered Jump, and subsequently embark on the biggest tour of their career up to that point. It would also – with frontman David Lee Roth leaving the band in 1985 – mark the beginning of the end of the band's first era, after which they would begin another with new singer Sammy Hagar.

This crucial period for Van Halen is the focus of an upcoming documentary by Alan Berry, the man who made the 2022 film, Steve Vai: His First 30 Years.

You can see a trailer for the film below. 

The documentary will be split into five parts, which will focus, in order, on: the construction of 5150 Studios, the lead-up to, and aftermath of, the band's performance at the US Festival, the making of 1984, the 1984 tour, and what led to frontman David Lee Roth's departure from Van Halen.

The first two parts of the film premiere this Wednesday, May 24, with the third, fourth, and fifth segments set to be released on June 7, 14, and 21, respectively.

All five parts of the documentary will be free to watch on The Tapes Archive YouTube channel.

In a 2014 interview with Guitar World, Eddie Van Halen himself reflected on the importance, and hectic pace, of that time period.

"We did the US Festival in the middle of recording the 1984 album, and before that we toured the U.S., Canada, and South America and played about 120 shows," Van Halen said. "And I also had to build the [5150] studio during that period, too! I don’t know how I pulled all of that off."

"Having built 5150, it was a very special time in my life, and that shows in the music."

For more on the Van Halen film, and Berry's other work, visit The Tapes Archive's website.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.