Guitar icon, godfather of rock, musical pioneer, legend, genius and all round good guy Eddie Van Halen has passed at the age of 65 after losing his battle with throat cancer on Tuesday this week. His son Wolfgang announced the devastating news on Twitter, paying tribute to “the best father I could ever ask for”… “I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning”.
Eddie famously once revealed that he had never been able to read music. He learned from watching, listening, improvising and copying. From 1964 through 1967, he won first place in the annual piano competition held at Long Beach City College. Afterward, the judges would comment that he had an interesting interpretation of the classical piece. His view was, “What? I thought I was playing it correctly!”
Originally from Amsterdam, Van Halen moved to Pasadena, California, in 1962 and made rock and roll history as one of the most celebrated and influential guitarists and musicians of all time.
He will be remembered for he’s magician-like ability as a musician, songwriter, producer, and inventor who pioneered so many avenues and styles for others to follow and aspire to.
As the main songwriter and lead guitarist of the American rock band Van Halen, which he co-founded in 1972 with his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, bassist Mark Stone, and singer David Lee Roth, his impact on music history has been profound. Having won numerous awards and accolades over the years, Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
He was well known for popularizing the tapping guitar solo technique, allowing rapid arpeggios to be played with two hands on the fretboard. In 2012, he was voted number one in a Guitar World magazine reader’s poll for “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”
The range of musicians, actors, directors, politicians and creatives around the globe mourning the loss of the legend demonstrates how far his music and influence reached.