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The death of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen has disheartened rock fans all over. The legend’s son Wolfgang announced the sad news on Oct. 6, 2020. Van Halen lost his lengthy battle with cancer, he was 65-years-old.
Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was born on Jan. 26, 1955, in the Netherlands. His family moved to the U.S. in the 1960s. He and his older brother Alex started taking piano lessons at an early age. This started their love for music.
The brothers became completely enthralled by the Dave Clark Five band when the British Invasion rock movement began. At first, Eddie began learning to play the drums as Alex learned to play guitar. However, they soon switched instruments and Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page quickly became the young musicians’s influencers.
In the early 1970s, the brothers joined forces with singer David Lee Roth and Bassist Michael Anthony to form the group Mammoth. Around the same time, Van Halen began perfecting his signature trademark ‘two-handed tap’ technique — this move has been copied by numerous other players.
The group changed their name to Van Halen sometime in the mid-1970s. It was around this time that the legend guitarist began building his own custom guitars. He would use the shape of a Fender Stratocaster and then cover it in strips of wild tape creating his own wild unique design.
The group signed on with Warner Brothers in 1977. A year later they released their self-titled album and thus the beginning of multi-platinum albums and sold-out tours. Van Halen’s songs such as “Dance the Night Away,” “Panama,” and “Hot for Teacher” quickly caught the attention of other artists.
Van Halen joined a few well-known artists in their albums. One such song he featured a guitar solo in was Michael Jackson’s song “Beat It.” The fast success of the band soon built tensions between the Van Halen brothers and Roth. Roth left the group in 1985.
Sammy Hagar joined the band and helped them top music charts with their next four albums. Hagar left the due to creative differences in 1996 and Roth came back briefly. By 1998 Van Halen’s frontman was Gary Cherone and the one album he was on disappointed everyone.
The rock star combated assorted health issues throughout recent decades. In 1999, he had his hip replaced and a spell with tongue cancer in the 2000s. The guitarist had a history of alcohol and drug abuse that led him to a rehabilitation facility in 2007. He had surgery for diverticulitis in 2012.
On Oct. 7, his widow Jane Liszewski shared an emotional tribute to him on her Instagram page.
My husband, my love, my Peep… My heart and soul have been shattered into a million pieces. I never knew it was possible to cry so many tears or feel such incredible sadness.
Written by Sheena Robertson
Rolling Stones: Eddie Van Halen, Hall of Famer Who Revolutionized the Guitar, Dead at 65; ANDY GREENE
NPR: Eddie Van Halen, Guitar Hero, Dies At 65; Stephen Thompson
FOX: Eddie Van Halen’s widow Janie says her ‘heart and soul have been shattered’ by his death; Julius Young
All Music: Eddie Van Halen; Greg Prato
Featured Image Courtesy of AxsDeny’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of National Museum of America’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License