- Torfinn Sirnes
R.I.P. Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen passed away October 6th at the age of 65. With him the world has lost one of the most influential guitar players of all time.
Eddie Van Halen was best known for his work with his hard rock band Van Halen that was named after him and his brother Alex (drums). Together with David Lee Roth (vocals) and Michael Anthony (bass) they received instant success with their platinum selling self-titled debut album in 1978.
The album showcased Van Halen's groundbreaking two hand tapping style. This technique is evident in the short guitar instrumental "Eruption" but all of Van Halen's solos were intriguing, masterly played and came with a brilliant sense of melody.
The band had a fierceful work rate in the beginning of their career. Five albums in the first five years established the band as one of the greatest rock bands in the world.
Van Halen's biggest success came with their sixth album "1984". The album sold over 10 million copies in the U.S.A. alone and included hit singles like "Jump", "Panama" and "Hot for the Teacher". Their best-known song "Jump" went to number 1 on Billboard and was a huge hit all over the world. Eddie Van Halen and his band were now superstars.
Right from the start and especially with "1984" Van Halen foreshadowed the glam metal subgenre that got so popular in the 80's but the band was always something bigger in their own respect. Van Halen is difficult to categorize as the band simply sound like... Van Halen. Much of the band's unique status and sound came from Eddie Van Halen. His innovative playing style always went hand in hand with superb song writing and a distinct guitar sound. The latter was a combination of his unique playing style and his signature 5150 guitar amp and EVH guitars.
Eddie Van Halen did some great rare guest appearances outside the band. His famous guitar solo on Micheal Jackson's "Beat It" is nothing but sensational and a milestone in pop vs. hard rock collaboration. Van Halen also worked with famous artists like Brian May (Queen), Steve Lukather (Toto) and Black Sabbath.
After David Lee Roth left the band in 1985, Van Halen moved on with Sammy Hagar as lead singer. The new line-up released another four highly successful albums between 1986 and 1995.
The band struggled a bit in the end of the 90's as the music scene had changed. They continued to sell out massive tours but the fans were left impatiently waiting for an album comeback.
The gigantic album comeback finally came in 2012. Back together with David Lee Roth as lead singer and now with Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang on the bass "A Different Kind of Truth" once again showed the world the creative force of Eddie Van Halen and his band.
Eddie Van Halen recorded 12 successful studio albums and did numerous world tours with his band. They sold over 80 million albums and recorded 23 top 100 Billboard hits. The man was a rock legend who influenced guitarist players from almost every metal subgenre for 42 years.
Eddie Van Halen now receives praises from the music community all over the world. He sadly lost his battle to cancer but he will always be remembered. His work will continue to inspire and excite forever.
Rest In Peace.
Van Halen studio albums
Van Halen I (1978)
Van Halen II (1979)
Women and Children First (1980)
Fair Warning (1981)
Diver Down (1982)
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991)
Van Halen III (1998)
A Different Kind of Truth (2012)