I'll Wait

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"I'll Wait"
Van Halen - I'll Wait.jpg
Single by Van Halen
from the album 1984
  • "Girl Gone Bad" (US)
  • "Drop Dead Legs" (UK)
ReleasedApril 1984 (US)
LabelWarner Bros.
Producer(s)Ted Templeman
Van Halen singles chronology
"I'll Wait"

"I'll Wait" is a song by the American rock band Van Halen, taken from their sixth studio album, 1984 (1984). The song was written by band members Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth, along with Michael McDonald[1] and produced by Ted Templeman.[2]

It was the second single released from the record and reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite the song being a hit, no video was ever filmed for it.

Writing and composition[edit]

The song was written as a collaboration between Van Halen and Doobie Brothers singer Michael McDonald, who was brought in by Templeman when David Lee Roth had trouble completing the melody and lyrics to the song.[3] The song is in the key of D minor, having a moderate common time tempo of 114 beats per minute.[4]

Like "Jump," the song features keyboards almost entirely, including a synthesizer bass line, and also features heavy use of Alex Van Halen's Rototom drum kit.[5]

The song's subject was inspired by a woman wearing men's underwear in a Calvin Klein print media advertisement.[5] Roth pinned up the ad beside his Sony Trinitron television and addressed the lyrics to the model.[6]

The single's original cover featured the band posing in the same location where the cover for the "Hot for Teacher" single had been shot.[citation needed]

David Lee Roth and producer Ted Templeman wanted to remove the song from the album, while Eddie Van Halen and engineer Donn Landee pushed for its inclusion.[5]


Chuck Klosterman of Vulture.com ranked it the 43rd-best Van Halen song, noting its "mammoth drums, mammoth synth, not much verve or panache."[7]

Track listing[edit]

US 7" single

Side A
1."I'll Wait" (radio edit)4:10
Side B
1."Girl Gone Bad"4:33

UK 7" single/US 12" single

Side A
1."I'll Wait" (radio edit)4:10
Side B
1."Drop Dead Legs"4:13


  • David Lee Roth – lead vocals
  • Eddie Van Halen – guitar, keyboards
  • Alex Van Halen – drums
  • Michael Anthony – keyboard bass, backing vocals


Chart (1984) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[8] 21
UK Singles (OCC)[9] 85
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 13
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[11] 2


  1. ^ Giles, Jeff (March 2, 2014). "How Michael McDonald Ended Up Co-Writing Van Halen's 'I'll Wait'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  2. ^ Considine, J.D. (March 1, 1984). "1984". Rolling Stone.
  3. ^ "100 Best Albums of the Eighties, 81 Van Halen, '1984'". Rolling Stone. 16 November 1989.
  4. ^ Van Halen Guitar Anthology. Van Nuys, California: Alfred. 2006. pp. 143–7. ISBN 9780897246729. OCLC 605214049.
  5. ^ a b c Graff, Gary (January 9, 2014). "Van Halen's '1984' At 30: Classic Track-By-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  6. ^ "1984". Classicvanhalen.com.
  7. ^ Klosterman, Chuck (October 6, 2020). "All 131 Van Halen Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best A look back at the band's formidable legacy". Vulture.com. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  8. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6729." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  9. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  10. ^ "Van Halen Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  11. ^ "Van Halen Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved March 25, 2021.

Further reading[edit]

  • Templeman, Ted; Renoff, Greg (2020). Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer's Life In Music. Toronto: ECW Press. pp. 350–1, 359–61. ISBN 9781770414839. OCLC 1121143123.

External links[edit]