Yesterday on October 6th 2020, the world was sadly informed by Wolfgang Van Halen that his father Eddie Van Halen had lost his battle with throat cancer, he had passed away at only 65 years old. This day, we lost a legend & inspiration to the world.
Today, we wanted to put together a tribute for Eddie by looking through his career and showcasing some of his iconic past and news throughout his lifetime.
If you have any memories of Eddie Van Halen that you would like to share, please feel free to send them in by emailing us: RockLifestyleUK@gmail.com
The Life & Career of Eddie Van Halen.
Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was born on January 26th 1955. His father, Jan Van Halen was a working class musician when Eddie was born, but in 1978 his whole world was about to change. Eddie & Alex released their first studio & self titled album, but little did they know they had just started a journey like no other.
On this first studio album, the band started off like no other, hitting number 19 on the billboard pop charts. They had released one of the most iconic tracks in rock history, this being "Eruption". When this was released, it was almost immediately labelled as one of the most iconic tracks in the history of rock n roll. 1 minute and 36 seconds of pure electrifying guitar solo that will send shockwaves through your body.
This is also the solo that everyone still talks about to this very date, especially his performance in 1986 at New Havens Memorial Coliseum. From this point onward, Eddie Van Halen had become a true inspiration to millions of musicians around the world. This was also the same track that had popularized a solo technique called tapping, which is where you use both left & right hands on the guitar neck and is now something musicians around the world strive to learn.
1980 saw the band drop one of its hottest albums of their career, this being "Women and Children first" which featured the track "Everybody Wants Some!!" which is still one of the bands most played tracks to this very date.
The same year, Eddie Van Halen met actress & soon to be wife, Valerie Bertinell at a concert in Louisiana. They married in 1981.
In 1982 the band released it's fifth studio album titled 'Diver Down', which is impressive considering they had only formed 4 years previous. This album spent 65 weeks on the album chart in the United States and by 1988 sold 4 million copies in the US alone. This album was also tracked by their father Jan Van Halen who at the time was 65 years old & was the biggest project that he had ever worked on. This was also noted as Van Halens shortest album.
This album featured Van Halens version of Pretty Woman originally by Roy Orbinson and also the track "Little Guitars" which to us, is just straight up incredible, and the guitars from Eddie are truly insane & showcase that unique sound that would go on for generations to come.
In the same year (1982), Michael Jackson released his sixth studio album Thriller, which featured the track titled "Beat It". This very track featured guitarist Eddie Van Halen. In 1984, Eddie joined Michael Jackson on stage to perform the song live:
During 1983, multiple Queen members where taking on side projects, this included legendary guitarist Brian May. On 21st and 22nd April that year, May was in a studio with Eddie Van Halen, they both had absolutely no intention of recording anything, but it resulted in a mini-album titled "Star Fleet Project" which May originally wasn't going to release.
The same year in October, the album was released as a Mini-LP which was a challenge to the established principle that a piece of rock music must fit into either a 2x4 minute single, or a 2x20 minute LP format.
1984,the bands sixth studio album also titled "1984" which featured two of the most iconic songs in rock history. We use the world iconic a lot, we know, but honestly can you blame us? Everything that Eddie & the band have done since there formation, has helped form the entire rock industry and has inspired millions.
We want to talk about each of the tracks on there own, because they are both just so damn good.
The second track on side one (or on cd of the album) titled "Jump" is one of the most iconic Van Halen songs in their entire history, being their only number 1 hit which also gained them a Grammy nomination. This track has featured on so many movies, TV Shows & played across thousands of radio stations around the world. This is one of those songs that when you hear it playing on the radio, or even anywhere really, you know immediately it's Jump by Van Halen.
On the same side was Panama and this track is also one of Van Halens biggest hits, millions of fans around the world easily being able to sing along to this track and is one of the most recognisable Van Halen tracks to date.
On Side Two the first track (or on cd of the album) titled "Hot For Teacher" is probably one of the most played Van Halen tracks we have ever come across. It was only a few days ago when we tuned into Planet Rock that they was playing this beast of a tune. This track has also featured on Guitar Hero: World Tour which introduced young rock n rollers of the 21st century to a band that helped form the music we know and love today.
When I first heard this track a few years ago when I was getting into the rock scene, it honestly blew me away. This track alone is easily my favourite Van Halen track and it is souly because of the incredible talent of Eddie Van Halen. His guitar playing took me to another dimension and inspired me to discover more of their music & other bands similar to Van Halen. Him and his band helped formed my music tastes and to this very date, Van Halen is one of my favourite bands and will continue to be so.
Also in 1984, Eddie Van Halen & other band members of Van Halen featured in Frank Sinatra's 1984 single L.A Is My Lady music video:
1 year later it was revealed that David Lee Roth would be parting ways due to a conflict of interest, we wouldn't see Roth's return until 1996 and 2005.
In 1986 Van Halen had Sammy Hagar replace Roth as lead vocalist. During his time with Van Halen, the band had 4 albums hit No.1 on billboard charts featuring tracks such as "Why Can't This Be Love " "Dreams" and "Love Walks In" and saw 17 of the bands singles during this time hit within the top 12 of the mainstream rock charts.
On 8th February 1994, Black Sabbath released their seventeenth studio album titled Cross Purposes. This album contained a track titled "Evil Eye" which was actually co-written by Eddie Van Halen himself but wasn't credited due to label restrictions. You can certainly tell Eddie had a hand in this track.
David Lee Roth reunited with the band temporarily in 1996 due to a breakdown in the relationship between the Van Halen brothers & Hagar. During this time Van Halen was nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performing at the 39th Annual Grammy Awards.
Eddie Van Halen invited Roth to his house/studio and had formed a connection between the two. Shortly after, David Lee Roth had re-entered the studio and recorded two additional tracks to the bands Best of Volume I album.
Sadly, this wouldn't last long as Van Halen was still actively looking for a new vocalist. The same year, the Van Halen brothers took on vocalist Gary Cherone who was the former lead vocalist for Boston band Extreme.
This saw Van Halen take more of an experimental approach, of which resulted in the album Van Halen III. The album hit No.4 charts and featured tracks "Without You" which hit No.1 in 1998 and "Fire In The Hole" which featured on Lethal Weapon 4.
Van Halen also appeared in Australia and New Zealand for the first time in their career whilst touring with this album.
On 16th March 1991, the world was informed that a new baby boy, a descend from a music legend was born. His name was Wolfgang Van Halen.
Gary Cherone departed ways with Van Halen in 1999, but Eddie Van Halen later admitted "Powers that be", this being their label Warner Bros, forced his hand in parting ways with Cherone.
The same year, Eddie Van Halen had hip surgery in November 1999, but between 2000 and 2004 there was no releases from Van Halen or any statements from the band. The band was on hiatus.
In 1995 Eddie Van Halen was diganosed with avascular necrosis, of which he had hip replacement surgery in 1999 after the pain became unbearable.
In 2000 Eddie Van Halen was receiving treatment for tongue cancer, which removed almost a third of his tongue. He was declared cancer free shortly after the surgery. This was not revealed publicly until 2015 in an interview with Billboard. He blamed tongue cancer on the fact he had been holding metal guitar picks in his mouth in 2015: 'I used metal picks, they're brass and copper, which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer. I mean, I was smoking and doing a lot of drugs and a lot of everything, but at the same time, my lungs are totally clear. This is just my own theory, but the doctors say its possible.'
The only performance from Eddie was when he jointed Mountain to play Never In My Life in August 2002 and in a private audience at NAMM in 2003.
In 2005, Eddie Van Halen revealed that him and his wife of 21 years where to divorce, which was finalised in 2007. The same year Eddie entered rehab to battle his addiction with alcohol and later shared in an interview he had been sober since 2008.
2006 saw the return of original lead vocalist David Lee Roth, a year later bassist Michael Anthony was replaced by Eddie's song Wolfgang as an official member of Van Halen.
Eddie Van Halen said in an interview in 2009 "I'll be making music till the day I die. I've done all kinds of stuff, and more is coming. I can't tell you exactly when right now. Wolfgang is in 12th grade and he needs to graduate first. Then I'm getting married in June. We'll pick it up after that."
In 2009, Eddie proposed to his at the time girlfriend Janie Liszewski who was an actress & stuntwoman, as well as Van Halens publicist at the time. Eddie and Janie married in 2009, in attendance by his son Wolfgang and ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli.
The same year, Eddie also underwent surgery on his left hand due to arthritis from touring in 2007.
Fans of hit sitcom Two and a Half Men had a lovely surprise by Eddie Van Halen when he featured on Episode 1, Season 7 of the show in 2010. He played himself during the Episode.
Eddie was leaving the toilet as Charlie made his way to the loo with an upset stomach. He exited the room "You might want to give it a minute" whilst wearing his guitar saying to Charlie, "You never know when an inspiration might strike!".
"A Different Kind of Truth" was the bands 12th studio album and also their first studio album since Roth's final full studio album in 1984 but also the bands first full studio album since 1998. It was released on 7th February 2012.
Mark Tremonti another legendary guitarist from bands Creed, Alterbridge & solo artist in his own right, spoke about being in the studio whilst Van Halen where practicing the new album in 5150 studios during an interview with Loudwire.
“You’ll play a show and you’ll just kind of see him sitting there smiling. When you’re on stage though, a light switch kinda turns and you kind of become this other persona, so it’s hard to shake your nerves. It felt good, him being there,” Tremonti says.
“We went to go see Van Halen practice. We were at 5150 studios and they were playing A Different Kind of Truth. They had finished a song and I was like, ‘Wolfie, that was a killer bass line.’ And Eddie’s like, ‘Were my parts good?’ Like, dude, you’re Eddie Van Halen. All your parts are good. One time I was warming up in L.A. for a show and I’m warming my left hand up and I see somebody standing behind me for a minute. I hear him go, ‘You don’t pick very much, do you?’ I turn around and it’s Eddie Van Halen."
- Mark Tremonti
It has been noted that 7 of the 13 songs that are on the album where demos from the 80's that had never been released. They where all re-worked and lyrically re-written. The album was a commercial success debuting in the top 10 of multiple charts around the world, debuting at No.2 on the Billboard charts.
Sadly, this album was also the final works of Eddie Van Halen.
In 2019, Eddie was hospitalised after battling throat cancer over the previous five years. Eddie has been battling hard & strong over the last year and a half, but sadly, yesterday evening the world was informed by his son, Wolfgang Van Halen that his father & inspiration had passed away.
Yesterday, we lost a legend, and an inspiration to everyone around the world. may Eddie Van Halens legacy live forever.
If you have any memories or stories to share about Eddie Van Halen, please send them in and share them online for the world to see.