A Rockapaedia Obituary
Eddie Van Halen
Band: Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen died aged sixty-five of a stroke on 6th October, 2020 in Santa Monica, California, United States of America. He was survived by his ex-wife Valerie, their son Wolfgang and his second wife, Janie.
Eddie was born, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen on 26th of January, 1955 in Amsterdam, Holland.
In 1962, the Van Halen family moved from the Netherlands to the United States, settling in Pasadena, California where Eddie and his older brother, Alex, became naturalized U.S. citizens.The brothers learned to play the piano as children starting at the age of six and they commuted from Pasadena to San Pedro to study with an elderly piano teacher.
Eddie Van Halen was never taught to read music but would watch recitals of Bach or Mozart and improvise. From 1964 through 1967, he won first place in the annual piano competition held at Long Beach City College. His parents wanted the boys to be classical pianists, but Eddie Van Halen gravitated towards rock music. Consequently, when Alex began playing the guitar, Eddie bought a drum kit for himself but he then gave Alex the drums and began learning how to play the electric guitar. Eddie and his brother Alex formed their first band with three other boys, calling themselves 'The Broken Combs'.
Eddie described English band Cream's recording of "I'm So Glad" on theei album 'Goodbye' as "mind-blowing" and once claimed that he had learnt almost all of Eric Clapton's Cream solos "note for note.
Whilst Eddie and Alex Van Halen formed a band in 1972m two years later, they changed its name to "Van Halen" and, simultaneously , became a staple of the Los Angeles music scene then in 1977, Warner Records offered their band, Van Halen, a recording contract.
Soon after its release in nineteen seventy-eight, , their eponymous album ' Van Halen', reached number nineteen on the American Billboard pop music charts, becoming one of rock's most commercially successful debut LP's.
By the early 1980s, Van Halen was one of the most successful rock acts of the time and the album, "1984", went five-times Platinum a year after its release. The lead single "Jump" became the band's first and only number-one pop hit and garnered them a Grammy nomination.
Van Halen won the 1992 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocals for the album "Unlawful Carnal Knowledge". In 2007, Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and, individually, Eddie Van Halen received acclaim for his guitar work in the band.
Eddie Van Halen engaged in several projects outside of his eponymous band, including solo work and partnerships with his brother on film soundtracks including "The Wild Life", "Twister", and "Sacred Sin", as well as musical collaborations with Kiss bassist Gene Simmons, Nicolette Larson, Brian May, Sammy Hagar, Black Sabbath, Roger Waters, Steve Lukather, and LL Cool J then in 1982, he contributed the guitar solo to Beat It, for Michael Jackson's Thriller, which became the biggest selling album of all time. In addition, Eddie Van Halen made cameo appearances in the music video for Frank Sinatra's "L.A. Is My Lady", an episode of Café Americain starring his then-wife Valerie Bertinelli, and an episode of Two and a Half Men.
Eddie Van Halen was awarded three patents related to guitars: a folding prop to support a guitar in a flat position, a tension-adjusting tailpiece, and an ornamental design for a headstock.
In February 2017, Eddie Van Halen donated 75 guitars from his personal collection to a program that provides musical instruments to students in low-income schools.