Rock and roll as a genre has gone through an infinite amount of changes. From the early days of Chuck Berry, Bill Halley and Buddy Holley to the here and now with groups like Deerhunter and Paramore, rock has changed and evolved to not only fit the times, but because of the musicians that make it one of the greatest forms of music of all time.
One of those musicians was a titan among artists. A man who had never learned to read music or scales, yet went on to become one of the most influential guitar players and song writers of the past 48 years.
Eddie Van Halen, lead guitarist for Van Halen, passed away on October 6, 2020 from throat cancer. He was 65 years old.
Eddie’s death was reported by his son Wolfgang Van Halen, who joined his father on stage as the band’s bassist in 2007.
Born Edward Lodewijk Van Halen in 1955 in Amsterdam, music was a part of Eddie’s life from a very early age thanks to his father Jan, who was a clarinetist, saxophonist and piano player. After the family moved to Pasadena in 1962, Eddie and big brother Alex Van Halen would eventually go on to form the now iconic band in 1972 with bassist Mark Stone.
After becoming a mainstay in the Los Angeles music scene during the 1970’s, the group was signed to a contract with Warner Bros. Records. The group’s first album Van Halen (1978), climbed to No. 19 on the charts, helping to lay the foundation for the decades of musical magic that were to come.
Over the decades Van Halen would release a number of hit albums, most famously during the periods in which David Lee Roth (1974-1985) and Sammy Hagar (1985-1996) were part of the group.
With hit songs like Jump, Panama and Runnin’ With the Devil alongside other projects for Michael Jackson, Brian May and Gene Simmons, Eddie’s work as a musician has inspired generations of artists and songwriters.
During his decades of performance Eddie was famously known for his use of tapping. The instrumental for the 1978 solo Eruption showcased his usage of the technique which would become a mainstay for the group’s albums and live shows.
If anything can be said of Eddie Van Halen’s life and career, it is that he loved rock and he loved Van Halen. He was there at the start of it all alongside Alex and committed himself to the band and the music, right up until his death.