Guitar Legend From Van Halen Was 65 – Deadline
Eddie Van Halen, the self-taught guitarist from Van Halen, who influenced a generation of players with his legendary licks, died today of cancer. He was 65 years old and had had health problems for several years. His son and bandmate Wolfgang Van Halen announced the news on social media:
Van Halen was a founding member of the band that bore his name, along with his older brother Alex Van Halen. After the Dutch brothers moved from Holland to Southern California in the early 1960s, they founded one of the largest rock and roll groups together with singer David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony. By 1977, the quartet was signed to Warner Bros Records, and their 1978 debut album of the same name became a breakout smash. Although the LP barely cracked the national top 20, it would spend more than three years on the Billboard 200 and went platinum ten times.
The album featured a cover of the Kinks classic “You Really Got Me,” which dented the Top 40, but its intro has been food for hard rock guitarists ever since. “Eruption” showed the two-handed knocking technique that Van Halen perfected and popularized. The track remains a must for Rock Ax players. The album also features raw rock classics like “Ain’t Talkin ‘Bout Love”, “Runnin’ with the Devil”, “Atomic Punk” and “Feel Your Love Tonight”.
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Van Halen is one of the most popular hard rock bands from Los Angeles, which says a lot. Virtually every heavy metal guitarist who emerged in the late 1970s or 1980s when the genre was at its commercial peak owes a debt to Van Halen and its unique player.
The group continued their debut CD with Van Halen II (1979), which had a more polished sound but was very successful. It peaked at number 6, as did its follow-up, Women and Children First from the 1980s. Several tracks from both discs were and are staples of classic rock radio: “Beautiful Girls”, “Dance the Night Away”, “… and the cradle will rock”, “Everybody Wants Some !!” and other.
There’s more to come …