Eddie Van Halen Dead Of Cancer, Son Confirms

Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen
John Davisson
– Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen
Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Eddie Van Halen, whose guitar virtuosity influenced a generation of players and who led his namesake band, Van Halen, to international superstardom from Pasadena, Calif., has died, according to his son Wolfgang.

Van Halen transformed what the electric guitar could do and sound like from a Mac truck to a fusillade of guitar pyrotechnics that from the late-70s onward invariably elicited slack jaw awe and adulation from fans as well as even the most accomplished guitar virtuosos alike.
TMZ reports that Eddie Van Halen passed at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., surrounded by his family including wife Janie, brother Alex and son Wolfgang. 
Van Halen is featured on  Michael Jackson’s 1983 classic hard rock song “Beat It,” which showcased the guitarist’s unreal combination punch of feedback, pull-offs and two-handed tapping technique that he patented to generations of pop music fans.
Van Halen’s mastery of the guitar extended beyond his musical chops. The relentlessly innovative guitarist famously played an instrument known as “The Frankenstrat,” which, like the fictional monster from which it takes its name, Van Halen had assembled himself from several other brands and models.
Using Fender’s iconic Stratocaster model as its base, Van Halen added Gibson pickups and later Seymour Duncan ones. Other parts were less conventional, from paraffin wax to reduce feedback and a vinyl record fashioned into a pick guard. Several guitar makers built imitators – but none could rival the original, which was displayed in a 2019 exhibit at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Van Halen was a consistent arena draw and according to Pollstar Boxoffice reports had an average gross that crossed the million dollar threshold at $1.07 million per show based on a total of 187 performances that moved some 1.95 million tickets. Some of the band’s highest grosses included a $3.46 million gross for two nights at NYC’s Madison Square Garden in 2012; $2.97 million for two nights at L.A.’s Staples Center also in 2012; and $1.9 million haul that same year for a single night at Toronto’s Scotia Bank Arena.

Eddie Van Halen fueled the ultimate California party band and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s with his band’s statement-making self-titled debut album which featured monster tracks like “Runnin’ With the Devil,” Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” But the band’s biggest crossover album was its blockbuster “1984,” which contained classic radio hits and MTV staples like “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher.”

Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time, and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.

Eddie Van Halen was something of a musical contradiction. He was an autodidact who could play almost any instrument, but he couldn’t read music. He was a classically trained pianist who also created some of the most distinctive guitar riffs in rock history. He was a Dutch immigrant who was considered one of the greatest American guitarists of his generation.

The members of Van Halen — the two Van Halen brothers, Eddie and Alex; vocalist David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony — formed in 1974 in Pasadena, California. They were members of rival high school bands and then attended Pasadena City College together. They combined to form the band Mammoth, but then changed to Van Halen after discovering there was another band called Mammoth.

Their 1978 release Van Halen opened with a blistering and aforementioned “Runnin’ With the Devil” and then Eddie Van Halen showed off his astonishing skills in the next song, “Eruption,” a furious 1:42 minute guitar solo that swoops and soars like a deranged bird. The album also contained a foot-stomping version of “You Really Got Me” and it’s highly chantable “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.” 

Mike McCready of Pearl Jam told Rolling Stone magazine that listening to Van Halen’s “Eruption” was like hearing Mozart for the first time. “He gets sounds that aren’t necessarily guitar sounds — a lot of harmonics, textures that happen just because of how he picks.” 

Van Halen released albums on a yearly timetable — “Van Halen II” (1979), “Women and Children First” (1980), “Fair Warning” (1981) and “Diver Down” (1982) — until the monumental “1984,” which hit No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album charts (only behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”). Rolling Stone ranked “1984” No. 81 on its list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”und” dir=”ltr”><a href=”https://t.co/kQqDV7pulR”>pic.twitter.com/kQqDV7pulR</a></p>&mdash; Wolf Van Halen (@WolfVanHalen) <a href=”https://twitter.com/WolfVanHalen/status/1313561314598350848?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>October 6, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>