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06 October 2020 22:33

Eddie Van Halen Eddie Van Halen Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen, the self-taught guitarist for Van Halen who influenced generations of players with his legendary licks, died today of cancer. His son and bandmate, Wolfgang Van Halen, announced the news on social media: Famous for his signature red-white-and-back guitar, Van Halen introduced entirely new sounds to hard rock. He ranks No. 1 on Guitar World's 2012 poll of the Greatest Guitarists of All Time and eighth on Rolling Stone's 2015 list. Van Halen is among the most popular hard-rock bands to emerge from Los Angeles, which is saying a lot. Pretty much every heavy metal guitar player to emerge in the late 1970s or realty '80s, when the genre was at its commercial peak, owes a debt to Van Halen and its singular player.

Fox) famously slips headphones on his sleeping father-to-be (Crispin Glover) and inserts a cassette marked "Edward Van Halen." The ensuing shred awakens the sci-fi-obsessed teen, and time-travel McFly controls the playback dressed as a spaceman to get the boy to do his bidding. Born on January 26, 1955, in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, Eddie was a founding member of the band that bore his name, along with his older brother Alex Van Halen. After moving from Holland to Southern California in the early 1960s, the brothers from a musical family teamed with singer David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony to create one of rock 'n' roll's greatest and most enduringly popular groups. Van Halen amassed a dozen multiplatinum albums; rank 20th among all recording artists in U.S. album sales at 56.5 million-plus; and left a legacy of classic songs, memorable live shows and infamous debauchery. Despite barely cracking the national top 20, Van Halen would spend more than three years on the Billboard 200 and has been certified 10 times platinum.

The album featured a cover of the Kinks classic "You Really Got Me" that dented the top 40, but its instrumental intro on the album has been fodder for hard-rock guitarists ever since. "Eruption" featured the two-handed "tapping" technique that Van Halen perfected and popularized. The album also features such raw rock classics as "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love," "Runnin' with the Devil," "Atomic Punk" and "Feel Your Love Tonight." The group followed up its debut disc with Van Halen II (1979), which had a more polished sound but met with huge success. Van Halen's fourth LP, 1981's Fair Warning, was the least popular of the Roth era — it remains "only" double-platinum — but spawned the rock staples "Unchained," "So This Is Love?" and "Mean Street." The group's 1982 set Diver Down sold a little better and contained covers of "Oh, Pretty Woman" — with the Eddie Van Halen classic "Intruder" as its instrumental lead-in — and another Kinks hand-me-down, "Where Have All the Good Times Gone?" The album also featured the Van Halen brothers' father, Jan, playing clarinet on their tongue-in-cheek cover of the 1920s tune "Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now)." Despite their FM success, Van Halen struggled to break through to mainstream top 40 radio in an era when rock was pop. "Dance the Night Away" and "Oh, Pretty Woman" had reached the Billboard top 20, but the lead single from the group's sixth album would change that.

Released on January 9 of its titular year, 1984 featured "Jump," a band composition that would spend five weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100, introducing Van Halen to the pop masses and landing the group its first Grammy nomination. Fueled by Eddie Van Halen's signature synth riff, the song propelled 1984 to No. 2 — kept from the penthouse by Men at Work' Business as Usual and Michael Jackson's Thriller. The album also included such classic rock chestnuts as "Panama," "Hot for Teacher" and synth-driven ballad "I'll Wait." Those concerts — as before and generally since — had fans' ping-ponging from Eddie Van Halen's guitar wizardry to the charismatic Roth's rock-god preening. In February 1985, at the pinnacle of Van Halen's global popularity, Roth released an offbeat solo EP of American standards and had an MTV and radio hit with the Beach Boys' "California Girls." The disc showcased the singer's decidedly non-hard-rock side and fed the creative rift between the singer and guitarist Van Halen. The veteran hard-rock vocalist who'd had lots of solo success and sang for Montrose in the 1970s gave the band a commercial jolt. His first album with Van Halen, 1986's 5150, was the group's best chart performer, giving the quartet its first No. 1 and ultimately selling more than 6 million units. Paced by the melodic but less-heavy lead single "Why Can't This Be Love," it solidified Van Halen's status among the world's most popular rock groups. Here is a long clip of Van Halen playing "Eruption" on his signature ax in New Haven, CT, in 1986: Their 1991 disc For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge earned Van Halen its first Grammy, for Hard Rock Performance, and generated the FM smash "Right Now," whose video clip won Video of the Year and two other Moonmen at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. A live album and another No. 1 studio disc — 1995's Balance — later, Hagar would leave the group, and Roth returned for a brief reunion. Singer Gary Cherone of Extreme joined the group for one forgettable album, 1998's Balance, but Van Halen had peaked as a commercial band. Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, though Eddie did not attend the ceremony due to health problems. Alex Van Halen, who'd started the band as its guitarist but would cede that spotlight to his kid brother and take over drumming duties — also sat out the induction ceremony, but Hagar was there. By then, Roth had agreed to return to Van Halen for a tour, but it was delayed by Eddie's health concerns. Hell froze over several months later, though, and the Van Halen brothers, Roth and Eddie's then-16-year-old son Wolfgang — who took over bass duties from Anthony — held a news conference at the Beverly Hilton announcing their reunion tour. "We are a band," Eddie said succinctly at the event. "And we are going to continue." The ensuing North American arena jaunt was a success, and there seemed, finally, to be peace in the Van Halen camp. In February 2012, the reunited quartet released A Different Kind of Truth, its first album of new material since 1984, and returned to the concert stage. But the tour was scuttled twice — first when its final 30 dates were scrapped over what sources said was burnout, and later when Eddie Van Halen came down with diverticulitis. In 1999, Van Halen underwent a hip replacement after a painful four-year battle with a bone tissue disease. Van Halen is survived by his wife of 11 years, Janie Liszewski; his brother, Alex; son, Wolfgang; and ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli, to whom he was married from 1981-2007 and is the mother of their son. Eddie Van Halen has passed away at the age of 65. The Van Halen co-founder and legendary guitarist died of cancer on October 6, as confirmed by his son, Wolfgang, on Instagram. "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," wrote Wolfgang. Revered rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen has died at the age of 65 following a battle with cancer, his son has said. Van Halen was part of the classic Van Halen line-up alongside his brother Alex, Michael Anthony on bass and David Lee Roth singing. The band was hugely successful and has sold more than 80 million records worldwide. In a statement shared on Twitter, Van Halen's son, Wolfgang, said his father died on Tuesday. He said: "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. Wolfgang, who became Van Halen's bassist, added: "I love you so much, Pop." Van Halen, who fought alcoholism, had battled health issues. It was reported last year that Van Halen had been privately battling throat cancer for five years. Tributes were paid to the guitarist following news of his death. Tommy Thayer, lead guitarist for Kiss, said he is "so sad to hear this". Geezer Butler, founder member of Black Sabbath, said: "Just when I thought 2020 couldn't get any worse, I hear Eddie Van Halen has passed. Thoughts go out to his brother Alex, and his family." The Twitter account of rock group Pantera tweeted Van Halen was a "tremendous influence" on their music. It said: "RIP Eddie Van Halen. RIP Eddie Van Halen. Star Wars actor Mark Hamill sent his condolences to Wolfgang, adding: "But take solace in knowing that he will be long remembered and live on forever as one of Rock's most extraordinary guitar virtuosos." So sorry for your tragic loss @WolfVanHalen, but take solace in knowing that he will be long remembered and live on forever as one of Rock's most extraordinary guitar virtuosos. Condolences to you, Valerie @Wolfiesmom and the entire Van Halen family.#RIPEdward — Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) October 6, 2020 Van Halen was married twice. Van Halen married Janie Liszewski in 2009. He was a powerful creative force for the band as they blurred the line between hard rock and heavy metal. Van Halen's 1978 self-titled debut sold more than 10 million copies in the US alone and set the group on the road to super stardom. They followed their debut with Van Halen II, Women And Children First, Fair Warning and Diver Down and by the mid-1980s were one of the most popular acts on the planet. In 2015, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Van Halen eighth on their list of the 100 greatest guitar players of all time. Pearl Jam's Mike McCready penned a tribute at the time, and said: "A lot of it is in his hands: the way he holds his pick between his thumb and middle finger, which opens things up for his finger-tapping. The band was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007.