Rockers Mourn Loss of Guitar Legend Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen, longtime lead guitarist of the legendary Van Halen, has died today (Oct. 6) at the age of 65. The news came from his son, Wolfgang Van Halen.
Van Halen rose to popularity in the latter half of the 1970s with the release of their self-titled debut album in 1978 and its follow-up, 1979's Van Halen II.The guitar virtuoso's incredibly distinctive sound, especially showcased on instrumental tracks like "Eruption," became a signature part of the band's identity. His playing has served as an influence for guitarists all around the world.
A plethora of musicians have taken to social media to share their sentiments and mourn the loss of Van Halen, including members of Black Sabbath, Tool, Motley Crue Megadeth, Anthrax, Queensryche, Judas Priest and more. See their tributes below.
Alex Van Halen to Van Halen News Desk, "Hey Ed, Love you. See you on the other side. Your brother Al,"
John 5: "Eddie Van Halen was a modern day Mozart and it is just so sad to see him go. He was so young. He is immortal and will live on forever. He was an inventor and the greatest guitar player of all time. The thing is, he took guitar to such new places that no one has done before and he was such an incredible guitar player. And on top of all of that, he was an incredible songwriter too. Anyone who ever picked up a guitar has played a Van Halen riff. Eddie was like someone we all might never again see the likes of in this world. He was that special. Thank you for changing the world."
Parris Mayhew (AGGROS / Cro-Mags): "As I sit here in my brand new Van Halen shirt I heard from my pal Kamal that the mighty mighty Eddie Van Halen has passed on. It’s not a surprise, he was sick a long time, but its a shock all the same and horrifying that such a great person is no longer walking around. He was one of the best people ever made. He was the baddest motherfucking guitarist to ever walk the face of the Earth that’s for sure and was as cool as cool is possible to be. I feel sick. The world is a lot less everything today. The guy had an impact on me that has never diminished, from the 14-year-old me in the front row at the Paladium in NYC rocking my brains out, to this day as I sit at my desk coincidentally wearing a Van Halen T-shirt! I thank my lucky stars that I was alive during their era to witness the greatness that was Eddie Van Halen and get to see Van Halen live 15 times. RIP sir. My condolences to Alex."
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame CEO Greg Harris: “Inductee Eddie Van Halen forever changed the vocabulary of the electric guitar. With blistering speed, control and melodic feel, he perfected the art of shredding, unleashing two-handed finger tapping, dramatic whammy-bar moves, and other astonishing never-before-seen techniques. Innovative, like his hero Les Paul, Eddie reimagined the sonic possibilities of the guitar and became an inspiration for an entire generation of musicians who worshiped his sound and style. His band Van Halen kicked the American hard rock scene into high gear in the late '70s, became rock heroes on MTV in the '80s and gave rise to a steady stream of shredders and trailblazers ever since.”
Diamond Rowe (Tetrarch): “It goes without saying that Eddie Van Halen had not only a huge influence on me but on the entire stratosphere of guitar based music. I vividly remember sitting in my room and learning songs like 'Ain’t Talkin Bout Love,' 'Eruption' and 'Panama' as a young pre-teen and those will always be my favorite moments. He was a very talented artist and from what I hear just an all around decent human being. He will be missed.”
Eric Peterson (Testament): "First of all its really weird… I’ve been listening to first album a lot during quarantine and thinking how did
this record stand the test of time? I was at a music store two days ago and I saw the EVH guitar and fell in love. So I put it on layaway - then today I was supposed to pick it up. Then I heard the news ... What the hell!!! Eddie is my favorite guitar player and made an impact on me and set me on the path of who I am today. His music was the soundtrack of my middle school years - his music will live on forever. Eddie changed the way guitar players look at guitar for sure. He didn’t want to be the fastest he wanted people to remember his songs and he had everything.
and now I’m going to learn all of those Van Halen songs all night. I’m tripping out ... I’m going to pick up that guitar right now. My condolences to his family."
Brendon Small (Dethklok / Metalocalypse): "I finally heard 'Mean Street' when I was 14 and it was all over. I could wait no longer, I needed a
guitar. And Eddie Van Halen was my ultimate inspiration. I couldn’t believe he was human - surely he was from another planet… part Virtuoso, part Harpo Marx and he wrote the best Riffs on earth."
Jeremy Wagner (Broken Hope): “What can you say about one of the true gods of guitar? Lots! And not enough. As a guitarist he truly inspired me and lit a fire under my butt ... When I was a kid and heard that self-titled debut album from Van Halen, my brain couldn’t grasp that a
human being made those sick sounds from a guitar. Every album Eddie did afterward continued to explore the guitar in crazy ways. Van Halen's first album changed everything and Eddie set a bar that was high — many guitarists reached for it, many were inspired, but no one could touch the style and energy. That was the OG EVH. His sick tone and immortal riffs, innovative two-handed-tapping, harmonics, whammy bar warfare and the FUN he exuded when tearing it up Live was ALL infectious. He was also a brilliant inventor. He may have called his guitar Frankenstein, but he was the true genius behind all his creations. Thanks for touching my life and inspiring me, Eddie Van Halen. I’m one among millions who grateful to have seen you play, to have been touched by your music — and many more will appreciate you for generations ‘til the end of time. Travel well, God.”
Eddie Trunk: “Eddie Van Halen was needless to say a guitar icon, but also a brilliant songwriter, musician and innovator of music. I’m grateful to be able to say I saw his magic on stage many times and his music has been a part of every one of my radio shows since I started back in 1983. I got the first Van Halen album when it first came out and I’ll never forget the impact it had on me. RIP Eddie and condolences to his fans, friends and family.”
Philip Anselmo: “Eddie Van Halen was an all-time great; a massive innovator with an iconic smile. He will be mourned. RIP Big Brother."
Tommy Shaw: I was heartbroken to hear the news of EVH’s passing. A genius musician and quite an interesting personality. I first met him when we shared a dressing room with them in Germany for a TV music show there in the ‘70s. Van Halen was new and ascending, and I observed him practicing his amazing guitar riffs in a style I’d never seen before. I later ran into him in Hamburg after I’d gotten my hair cut short, and I was wearing a green v-neck sweater I’d bought in a shop there. He took one look at me and said, “You look like a fucking accountant!” He was right! We ran into him years later at a birthday party of a friend at Le Dome in West Los Angeles and he took a photo with my wife Jeanne, hung out with party guests, and that was my last encounter. His style influenced a new generation of shredders. It was sad to hear about his health struggles, but always seemed to overcome them. Thank you Eddie for the incredible gifts of your music and live performances. History and music fans will remember and cherish you with the highest esteem."
E. Roland: “As much of a talented monster he was on guitar, he also was one of the most kind, sweet and generous souls I’ve ever met. RIP Eddie”
Sons of Apollo: “Sons Of Apollo are deeply devastated at the loss of a legend today, Eddie Van Halen. No one changed or influenced all of us more than Eddie in so many ways. He was what we and the world consider a game changer and will forever be remembered as the man who changed the face of guitar playing. Our condolences and wishes to his family. We are all a little part of this family in many ways. Thank you, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen. Saying you will forever be missed is an understatement!”
Eric Dover: "Just woke up from a nap to the sad news. My deepest condolences go out to the entire VH family. There will never be another like Ed. He influenced so many including myself. It’s hard to find the words at a time like this. All I can say is we were so lucky to have him in our lifetime and the music he gave us will live forever. Rest in peace."
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