Now, the music world is coming together to honor the late musician. Ozzy Osbourne, Fall Out Boy, Weezer, the Who and Billy Joel are just a few of the acts that have spoken out about Eddie’s impact over the past fifty years.
Eddie died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. His son Wolfgang confirmed the news with a touching tribute on Instagram.
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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. He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift. My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss. I love you so much, Pop.
Now, family, friends and fellow musicians are coming together to honor the Van Halen guitarist. Once news broke, social media platforms were flooded with tributes to Eddie.
‘We’re saddened to hear of Eddie Van Halen’s untimely passing today. Given the news today, we want to dedicate our album Van Weezer to Eddie as a thank you for all the incredible music that soundtracked our youth and inspired the record. RIP EVH.”
“Eddie Van Halen’s playing was immediately recognizable and all his own,” Trohman says. “That tone, the ‘brown sound,’ it was all in his hands. That metallic chink, it came from how he picked, holding the plectrum between his thumb and middle finger (which also allowed him to tap without shifting the pick itself). You can hum his riffs, and his solos are memorable. It’s the utmost honor when people hear you play and say, ‘Hey, I know that guy!’ That’s the sign of a truly unique artist and player.
Trohman also talks about how Eddie made guitar playing “sophisticated” while performing heavy rock tunes in Van Halen. There was something about him that made his guitar playing effortless and captivating.
“And Eddie used this weapon wisely,” Trohman continues. “Not only did he attract EVERY guitarist — aspiring and otherwise — to his pulpit, but even those who had zero interest in the instrument took notice. I can’t begin to count the number of friends and family with zero musical ability whatsoever, that fell in love with the guitar because of Eddie Van Halen’s playing. He made the guitar cool; and sophisticated. With a name like Edward Van Halen, and the chops of a veritable music God, referring to him was like referring to a great classical prodigy of the 18th century. It’s no wonder he named his über-talented son Wolfgang. Eddie wasn’t clueless; he knew his worth, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
The Fall Out Boy guitarist also discusses the influence Eddie has had on the current guitar playing generation.
“In the pantheon of popular music, it’s a shame the guitar has taken a big-time back seat to more artificial musical leanings,” Trohamn says. “I love the instrument; I’ve spent my whole life obsessed with it. So, yeah, it makes me sad to see it fading away, out of public interest. But I get it, we’re in a digital age, and the guitar is a bit too analog. Plus, I think too many people misrepresented the guitar as a corny extension of a hackneyed rocker’s prick, a dishonor to the instrument’s gorgeously expressive and supremely emotive nature. Eddie Van Halen knew how to make the guitar sing in a way that transformed the tool into a cultural touchstone. We need more EVH’s in this world to reintroduce the guitar to the people, as it was meant to be, not the shell of what it has become.”
“The last time I spent any serious time with Eddie was on the last official Black Sabbath tour I did in ’79, when they opened up for us,” Osbourne shares. “They were such good guys to be around. We had such fun. Every time I ever saw Eddie Van Halen, it was fun.”
He also recalls watching Eddie play guitar for the first time. Osbourne says that Eddie was a true pioneer for guitar players.
“I remember seeing Eddie do that finger-tapping thing, and that was the first time I’d ever seen anyone do that,” Osbourne says. “Just when you think nobody can make guitar playing exciting, somebody like that comes out. He was one of them. That thing with finger-tapping in the 80s, with the hair bands, everybody was doing that finger tapping. Once you’ve seen the master do it, everyone else comes second. Anybody after Eddie Van Halen was in second, as far as I’m concerned.”
For Osbourne, it was Eddie’s smile and constant passion on stage that he loved most about him.
“One thing I loved about Eddie was he always had a big grin on his face, and he looked like he was enjoying every second he was up there,” he says. “Whether it was showbiz bullshit or not — I don’t think it was — he always looked like he was having the best time of his life up there.”
Osbourne also shared a touching tweet honoring Eddie.
. @EddieVanHalen was one of the nicest guys I ever worked with and we shared so many laughs together. His influence on music and especially the guitar has been immeasurable. He was an absolute legend. Eddie, I’ll see you on the other side, my friend. Love, Ozzy.
— Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) October 6, 2020
David Lee Roth of Van Halen also posted a backstage photo of Eddie in tribute to his friend, bandmate and collaborator.
What a Long Great Trip It’s Been.. pic.twitter.com/M5pmkVi7hW
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) October 7, 2020
Shocked to hear of the death of the great Eddie Van Halen.
He was a consummate musician and an extraordinary virtuoso on the guitar.
He leaves a giant footprint and an irreplaceable void.
– Billy Joel
📸: Kevin Mazur pic.twitter.com/Y1uAoVp2NE
— Billy Joel (@billyjoel) October 7, 2020
“A man in his rightful place, so happy to be doing what he did.” ~ Pete Townshend.
Eddie van Halen 1955-2020. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/JOg0vn86An
— The Who (@TheWho) October 7, 2020
If you’re reading this
You got to live in a time where Eddie Van Halen played guitar and you got to witness it
You should never forget that
— Zach Myers (@ZMyersOfficial) October 7, 2020
— BlackSabbath (@BlackSabbath) October 7, 2020
— Official Motörhead (@myMotorhead) October 7, 2020
— Carole King (@Carole_King) October 7, 2020
RIP to the GREAT @eddievanhalen. Even though it took a couple calls to convince U it was actually me on the phone 🙂 U killed it on Thriller, & your classic 🎸solo on Beat It will never be matched. I’ll always smile when I think of our time working together. Eternal ❤️ & props.
— Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones) October 7, 2020
— Def Leppard (@DefLeppard) October 6, 2020