On October 6th the world lost a legend when rock icon, Eddie Van Halen, lost his long battle with cancer. Arguably the best guitarist who ever walked the earth, Van Halen was a rock icon and a pop culture legend. It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from-everyone from the tribes of Papua New Guinea to the Tibetian Highlands has heard the name Eddie Van Halen.
Eddie Van Halen was one of the founding members of the band Van Halen. With such classic songs as “Jump,” “Ain't Talkin’ bout Love,” and “Panama” Van Halen went down in history as one of the most influential bands ever. A large part of their legacy was due to Eddie Van Halen’s innovation. Eddie is referred to as “the Bruce Lee of music.” This is because he practically invented a new style of playing guitar called two-hand-tapping which is best showcased in the solo “ Eruption.” Tapping is when you use both your right hand and left hand on the neck of the guitar to play. Eddie had influence when creating his own tapping identity. His main influence was Steve Hackett, the lead guitarist of Genesis. Eddie also credited Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin with his influence with tapping.
During his life Van Halen and his brother, Alex, faced racism during their lives as their father was a Dutch and his mother was Indonesian. Van Halen did not succumb to the racism as he learned to play piano at a young age and eventually mastered the guitar. He was in bands for most of his life. He started his first band called the Broken Combs in elementary school. He started the famous band Van Halen with his brother in 1972.
Van Halen was also the creator of the Frankenstrat. This is an iconic design on his guitar that became synonymous with him. This guitar was his attempt to combine the tremolo bar functionality and physical attributes of a Fender Stratocaster with the sound of a Gibson guitar. This guitar style and design is arguably the most famous in the world, as soon as you see a Frankenstrat you know it is Eddie's guitar or at least modeled after it.
The band Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. The band has received a myriad of awards throughout the years. Some of these awards include winning the 1992 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance, the American Music Award for Favorite Hard Rock Album in 1992 and winning four MTV Video Music Awards, one in 1984 and three in 1992. They have also been nominated dozens of times for various Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, and MTV VMAs.
Eddie Van Halen will always be remembered as a legend and a rock icon. He was an inspiration to hundreds of millions of people around the world during his career. He was a truly gifted musician and the world will never see another Eddie Van Halen. He will never be forgotten and will live on in the hearts and minds of all who loved his music. The world of music really lost an amazing musician on October 6th.
He is survived by his son, Wolfgang, who is the bass guitar player in the band.