Eddie Van Halen, the guitarist and songwriter who helped give the rock band Van Halen its name and sound, died Tuesday; October 6th, after a battle with cancer. He was 65.
His death was announced by his son, Wolf Van Halen, on Twitter.
“I can’t believe I’m having to write this,” the statement said, “but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning. He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.”
In a band known for its instability — due in part to a rotating cast of lead singers that most notably includes David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar — Eddie Van Halen and his brother, Alex, remained constants, appearing on 12 studio albums that reached across five decades and sold tens of millions of copies.
In February of 1978 “Big Rock” band Van Halen released their self titled debut studio album “Van Halen”. Among classic hits like “Runnin with the Devil”, “You Really Got Me” and “Jamie’s Cryin”, there was included in the tracks a gem of a guitar solo “Eruption”
“Eruption” is an instrumental rock guitar solo performed by Eddie Van Halen. It is widely considered one of the greatest guitar solos of all time, having popularized tapping. It segues into “You Really Got Me” on the album Van Halen, and the two songs are usually played together by radio stations. The song was also released as the b-side to the “Runnin’ with the Devil” single.
Back in February of 1978 I was in 5th grade at Audubon Park Elementary in Orlando, Florida. At that time I used to play music from a stack system purchased at Robinson’s department store in the Fashion Square Mall. Complete with glass door and less than worthy speakers until I upgraded to a pair of Advent Graduate speakers for my very functional Hi-Fi system.
It was many a night I would lay down on the floor of my bedroom and place each speaker against my ears and blast Van Halen into my soul and the highest volume. Eruption was a favorite as well as the other hits on this now classic album. Later in life, my youthful indiscretions would come back to haunt me. I have since become a bit hard of hearing and I honestly believe it is due to the nightly rock blasts directly into the ears as well as the ritual attendance to Rock Super Bowl concerts at the Tangerine Bowl in my hometown.