RIP, Eddie Van Halen

The news, from the Los Angeles Times.

He could do things with a guitar that literally nobody else could do, and possibly no one else will do again. As they say, there goes part of my youth. May he rest in peace.

— JS

22 Comments on “RIP, Eddie Van Halen”

  1. This is a serious bummer. EVH literally transformed the guitar in ways no one other than Les Paul could claim. Van Halen I was the first record I ever owned, and I still love that thing.


  2. Around 1985 I went bowling in Studio City with some friends. Eddie Van Halen was in the lane next to us, bowling with bandmates and Valerie Bertinelli. He was a little guy, but he threw a bowling ball like it weighed nothing. He also threw strike after strike. I’ve never seen anyone hit pins harder, and I damn near grew up in bowling alleys.

    At one point he sauntered over to us and lit his cigarette off my friend Jessie’s without saying a word. (Yep, you could smoke on the lane; it was that long ago). He nodded; we nodded back and went back to what we were doing. We didn’t stan out or squee, because you don’t do that in LA.

    Even so, I’d seen Van Halen open for Black Sabbath in 1979 and absolutely destroy them, and I was still gooshy fanboy enough to think that bowling next to him was cool as hell.

    To this day I remember his Joe Cool saunter, his little nod (yeah, we all know who I am, I’m bumming a light, thanks), his powerhouse bowling, and the fact that he was even cuter than Valerie Bertinelli.

    And holy god could he play a guitar.

  3. Huge loss to the arts. He was the definition of a legend. And a decent human being too, by all the accounts I’ve read.

  4. Speaking of nostalgia…

    Every time I listen to a Van Halen lick, I hear a man who did not want to get bored on tour.

  5. Either the late ‘80s or early ‘90s I distinctly remember sitting with my cousin downloading GIFs over his 2400 baud rate modem and watching them appear line by line. It was around this time that we first found and downloaded a brief sound file – the opening guitar riff from Van Halen’s “Jump”. It was the first time I’d ever heard Van Halen, and it was a revelation. Growing up in a conservative religious group meant my experience of the world was through a very distorted lens which lacked the delights of modern music.

  6. God does 2020 suck. I had the VH album tapes (remember those?), then just consistently upgraded media, same albums. The thing I really remember about him is that he was a frequently unheralded session player for so many other musicians, bands, etc. You can hear some of his work on later Thomas Dolby albums, so many artists of the era. A real loss, a once in a lifetime virtuoso and so generous to other artists. And such wide-ranging styles–listen to “Cathedral” if you get the chance.

  7. While I wasn’t a fan of VH (group), I *was* a fan of Eddie VH because I could not deny that he was a great, other-worldly guitar talent and musician. Plus he was super-cute (sorry – inappropes?🙂)

    I was a teen in the 80s and between EVH’s death and Neil Peart’s at the beginning of the year…*sigh* I’m feeling a little hard-hit. 2020, jeezus…can you just stop sucking for ONE MINUTE?!?

    Hope he and Neil are jammin’ in heaven.

  8. I gotta admit, I became a fan late (and I was born an 80s kid), but hearing his guitar at the end of Twister with “Respect the Wind,”… just wow. I roll my eyes at the movie, but I’ll never skip the end credits because of that damned powerful guitar. And I usually rewind to listen one more time.

    Hell, I had to listen to it right now. Glad I got the soundrack. I’ll be repeating it most of the week, I’m sure.

  9. So they are, in an exact recreation of CBGB’S — another of music’s casualties — John Lennon, Helen Reddy, Mac Davis, BB King, and hundreds more. Every couple minutes another musician arrives, familiar and obscure, folk wave to friends they haven’t seen in years, decades. The walls recede into infinity just enough to allow for additional tables to appear though everybody is jammed comfortably, intimately together. Knees touching, elbows too. Their pitchers of mead, ale, wine, brandy, all self-filling. Ditto their bongs. (And in turn, bladders self-emptying.) There are no rude drunks, just happy folk grooving.

    Today, it’s Eddie Van Halen’s turn. Shaking off the years, arthritis fading as his hair turns from gray to brown. Halen steps up to the bar, gets himself a Dublin Carbomb and a pack of unfiltered Marlboros before tuning up his weapon of choice and sitting in on the jam session.

    In the audience, the angels weep.

  10. EVH was in my top four shredders of all time. He will be missed.

    Younger generations show promise. Check out the “Tina S” youtube channel – at age 15, she was almost certainly in the top 20 shredders. Her channel has a cover of EVH’s “Eruption”, which is pretty darn good.

  11. Damn. I’m feeling old today. The music of Van Halen 1.0 featured prominently in the music-scape of my formative years. He was one of the great ones of Rock n Roll. So long Eddie.

  12. I totally agree with the comparison to Les Paul. Furthermore, as a guitar player of the heavy rock persuasion and a Genexxer, Eddie Van Halen was our Steve Jobs.

  13. So, funny thing about Eddie Van Halen. His middle name was Lodewijk, the Dutch version of Ludwig. Yup, after that other Ludwig Von. His parents were Dutch classical musicians. While it may not be immediately apparent at first, I think his classical roots can be heard underlying his guitar artistry.

    He will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace.

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