Skyscraper was issued shortly after the commercially and critically successful Eat 'em and Smile World Tour of 1986-1987. Skyscraper hit #6 on the Billboard Top 200 U.S. album chart during February 1988, en route to selling two million copies in the U.S. alone. The album features one of Roth's most popular international hit singles, "Just Like Paradise", which reached #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Additionally, it features the acoustic ballad "Damn Good", which reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Rock chart.
At the time of its release, the eclectic, quasi-psychedelicSkyscraper divided public and critical opinion. Retrospective reviews tend to evaluate the album more favorably.
Although Roth's 1988 Skyscraper Tour was successful, many fans and critics who had felt disappointed by Van Halen's post-Roth, keyboard-heavy sound expressed similar dissatisfaction with Skyscraper. Guitarist Steve Vai (who co-produced Skyscraper, and wrote a majority of its songs) and bassist Billy Sheehan, who formed the core of David Lee Roth's solo band, left the group over various controversies regarding Skyscraper.
"California Girls" is a cover of the Beach Boys song.
"Hina" is notable in that it features only one guitar track; it is panned hard to one side, while a delay effect then sends the guitar effects to the other ear, sounding as if Vai is playing along with himself.
Roth's management received a phone call asking for permission for "Just Like Paradise" to be used as the theme song of a new television show, Beverly Hills 90210. They rejected the idea without asking Roth first, so an original piece of instrumental music was used instead.
A brief sample from the introduction of the title track was used several times as incidental music in the Miami Vice episode "Missing Hours", (Series 4, ep.7) broadcast in November 1987.