“I'm not a rock star. Sure I am, to a certain extent because of the situation, but when kids ask me how it feels to be a rock star, I say leave me alone, I'm not a rock star. I'm not in it for the fame, I'm in it because I like to play.”-Eddie Van Halen
2020 has taken many things from us. Freedoms, people we love, jobs, hobbies, relationships and now, one of, maybe the greatest guitar players of all time. Eddie Van Halen passed away after a quiet battle with throat cancer on October 6, 2020. To say the man is a legend would be a vast understatement. While much of music today depends on autotune, manufactured beats and musicians for hire, Eddie was an original and an innovator. His influence will be felt for decades to come and deserves his rightful spot amongst the musical legends of the last hundred years.
- Born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Eddie arrived to the States with his family in 1962 with nothing more than very little money and the family piano.
- Eddie cannot read sheet music. Starting a young age with piano lessons, Eddie learned to play from memorizing finger placement of his instructor and through mimicking sound.
- Eddie started out as the drummer for the band. He decided to switch to guitar when he learned how talented his brother Alex was at the drums so they swapped instruments.
- Eddie is an inventor and holds 3 patents including a support board that attaches to the back of a guitar that helped Eddie with his finger-tapping technique during live performances.
- Although not the inventory of his famous tapping technique, Eddie made the technique popular and is credited with giving it its name.
- An addict since the age of 12, Eddie managed to get sober in 2008 and spent the rest of his life sober.
- Eddie overcame tongue cancer, hip replacements and other health issues before finally succumbing to throat cancer.
- Eddie often appeared uncredited on other musicians’ work. Including Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”
- Eddie and his brother Alex are the only 2 original lifelong members of Van Halen.
- Eddie’s son Wolfgang played bass in Van Halen as well as other well-known bands and is a multi-instrumentalist.
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