I have always equated the music of Van Halen with the summer. Maybe it’s because they’re a California band but most likely Eddie’s airy riffs always made me think of sun and fun, backyard barbecues and beer.

As if we haven’t lost enough this year, jobs, friends and family, all courtesy of the pandemic. Now we’ve lost one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time.

Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was an influential musician, composer, producer and inventor. He was the chief songwriter and guitarist of the rock band Van Halen, which he co-founded in 1972 with his brother, Alex Van Halen (Drums), Mark Stone (Bass), and David Lee Roth (Vocals).

Van Halen has sold more than 56 million albums in the United States and more than 80 million records worldwide, making them one of the best-selling rock groups ever.

Eddie was known for popularizing the tapping guitar solo technique as heard in the 1978 instrumental solo “Eruption”.  The aftershocks are still being felt today, a 2012 Guitar World poll recognized Eddie as “The Greatest Guitarist Of All Time”.

I literally grew up on Van Halen. I’ve always viewed them as a right of musical passage. Beginning in the bluesy world of Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, moving into the fantastic realm of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and settling into the macho world of Eddie’s Van Halen.

I remember when the “Jump” music video first aired on MTV. It was on a regular rotation but we still couldn’t get enough! Van Halen was the shit, a band that could play anything and make it sound cool, even getting some ice cream…

When Van Halen achieved hard rock superstardom, Eddie became a pop culture icon. The 1983 release of the Michael Jackson song “Beat It” featured a guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen and the 1985 movie Back To The Future depicts Michael J. Fox’s character (Marty McFly) hilariously torturing his unsuspecting father with Eddie’s futuristic riffs.

Van Halen became a part of the fabric of society. It didn’t matter if it was David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar fronting the group, as long as the band had Eddie Van Halen.

I have always equated the music of Van Halen with the summer. Maybe it’s because they’re a California band but most likely Eddie’s airy riffs always made me think of sun and fun, backyard barbecues and beer. It’s autumn now and there are only a few warm days left, it’s time to break out some Van Halen and set the volume to 11. Be thankful the band has a back catalogue of 12 studio albums because next year (and every year after), we’ll realize they are the only summer band worthy of filling the void. \m/

Van Halen (1984)

  • David Lee Roth – Vocals
  • Eddie Van Halen – Guitar, Keyboards
  • Michael Anthony – Bass
  • Alex Van Halen – Drums

Van Halen (1986)

  • Sammy Hagar – Vocals
  • Eddie Van Halen – Guitar, Keyboards
  • Michael Anthony – Bass
  • Alex Van Halen – Drums
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