Though the classic hard rock band Van Halen had reached massive heights of commercial success with their 6th album 1984, a creative rift had formed between the band and their frontman David Lee Roth, who resented the more pop-friendly direction the band was gravitating towards, preferring the band stick to the hard rock they came up with. This tension would lead to Roth breaking away from the band to engage on a solo career, achieving commercial and critical success in 1986 with his solo debut Eat ‘Em And Smile.
Fans of Roth’s rock purism, who had followed him into his solo career on the promises of keeping his sound hard would be taken aback with his follow up, 1988’s Skyscraper. While Roth had criticized Van Halen for an over-reliance on synthesizers, Roth himself would add synth-player Brett Tuggle to his backing band for Skyscraper, which lead to a distinctly more psychedelic, and dreamy atmosphere.
In spite of going back on his promise of hard rock, Skyscraper turned out to be another success for Roth, selling over 2 million copies in the US, and rendering the Billboard Top 40 hit “Just Like Paradise”. It would also be the linchpin for the solo career of guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, who at the time was a member of Roth’s solo backing band. Though a commercial hit, it would also mark the beginning of the end for Roth’s solo career; the hard rock vocalist wouldn’t achieve any major sales success again until re-joining Van Halen in 2007.