Today is a sad day in the rock music world and 2020 did it again. Eddie Van Halen, guitar virtuoso was known to starting the band Van Halen with his brother, Alex. At the start, Eddie and Alex began on the piano at first when they were little kids. Then Eddie got interested in the drums for a little bit until he got interested in the guitar inspired by his brother, Alex. Eddie would learn and practice guitar for hours when growing up. Eddie would even walk around in his home as a teen with his guitar strapped on. Yes, Eddie loved the guitar that much.
Eddie and Alex formed Van Halen in 1972 w/ bassist Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth on the lead vocals. The band released their first record in 1978 which included their hits, “Ain’t Talking About Love”, “You Really Got Me” (the Kinks cover) and their iconic instrumental “Eruption” which became their anthem of some sort.
The band became a commercially successful band in the late 70’s and early 80’s… the Roth era were hit makers and had a string of hits that everyone loves. The band went through some lineup changes over the years and had a few singers come and go. Sammy Hagar joined the band in the late 80’s and stuck with them through the late 90’s. Gary Cherone joined the band as a singer but only made one album with them, “Van Halen III”. Then David Lee Roth re-joined and released their 12th and probably gonna be their last album, “A Different Kind of Truth” released in 2012.
Eddie is one of the most respected guitarists in the history of music. If you play the guitar yourself, you were probably inspired by him. People of all ages loved Eddie’s guitar playing, even little children looked up to him. When you listen to Eddie play, you can’t help but listen and be mesmerized by him. While Eddie was known for his shredding and his two handed-tapping technique, he was also a great rhythm player too which not many people talk about. He wrote some pretty great riffs.
I’ve always been a fan of Van Halen myself. I don’t have all their records but I’ve heard a lot of ’em. I only have a very few Van Halen records in my collection but planning to get more.
Eddie was more than just a guitar genius, he was also a genius at guitar tone and sound. He always knew what he wanted his guitar and amp to sound like. He was definitely a tech genius when it comes to that guitar stuff. I’m sure he played all brands of guitars but one thing no one wants to talk about are his custom signatures that he’s known for… of course, everybody knows his custom Frankenstein guitar with those weird colors but he had other custom guitars too. He also had a few custom guitar amps most notably the 5150. Eddie worked with guitar companies to make him his own guitar signatures. Eddie definitely had a good ear when it comes to sound and tone. He took guitar sound very seriously and was a perfectionist.
Eddie was one of the reasons I play guitar myself, he helped inspired me of course. He’s definitely one of my top 10 favorite guitarists.
Eddie passed today at 65 years old after a long battle with throat cancer. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and his bandmates.
Remember when David Lee Roth said that “Van Halen is finished” and everybody thought he was crazy and never believed him? Well this is a good time for David to say, “I toldyaso”. David wouldn’t talk about Eddie’s health and wouldn’t go any further ’cause he respected Eddie’s privacy. Eddie was a very private man. Everybody knew he had throat cancer but no one knew how he was since he was so private about it. Eddie was one to never talk about his private life publicly and I respect that. He was all about the music.
RIP Eddie and thanks for the great music.