Group of friends reunite over their love of Van Halen and their favorite concert in book 'Jump'

Friday, January 26, 2024
Group of friends reunite over their love of Van Halen in book 'Jump'
Sandy Kenyon has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Rolling Stone has called "Jump" one of the 500 greatest rock songs ever written.

The biggest hit Van Halen ever had was released 40 years ago.

It was the lead single from the album "1984" and for a group of 7th graders, it marked a milestone, a milestone celebrated in a new book: "Jump: 40th Anniversary of Attending the "1984" Van Halen Concert."

This is a story about how shared memories of music can reunite old friends by reminding them of the ties that once bound them together, and how a bond that loosened over time can be made tight again.

The chords sound down through the decades, prompting memories of middle school for a group of friends united by their love of one band: Van Halen and a concert they will never forget because it was their first.

"Tenth row, floor, center stage! You can't ask for a more memorable experience for your first time," said Todd Zimmerman, a Van Halen fan.

Zimmerman and Jim Serger were in the 7th grade.

"It's just powerful, Sandy. It really is," Serger said.

So powerful is the memory, he interviewed his old pals for a new book about that magical night 40 years ago.

"I just remember walking in and seeing Eddie, and it's like seeing a vision from the heavens or something like that," said Chris Berger, a Van Halen fan.

Berger got to meet Eddie Van Halen and the rest of the group because his dad was a police officer on duty at the concert.

"Everybody in the band was just so nice and came up and shook my hand and they took my cover liner from my cassette tape. The signed that all in front of me," Berger said.

He still has it along with the ticket stub from the Cincinnati event.

"Chris, is this concert, the memory of this show proof of the power of music?" Sandy Kenyon asked.

"Oh, 100%," Berger said.

The book brought them back together after years apart.

"There's a million books about Van Halen by people that are way more expert than we are combined. It's more about what Van Halen did for us," Zimmerman said.

"It's a very powerful memory and a moment in our life, and it still resonates with ourselves to this day," Serger said.

Serger's book is about the power of friendship re-ignited for these pals by the shared memory of a single concert 40 years ago.

Life took them in different directions. The music of Van Halen brought them back home.

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