In Rememberance of Eddie Van Halen | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Thursday, October 29th, 2020  

In Rememberance of Eddie Van Halen

The Iconic Guitarist Died This Week

Oct 09, 2020 By Matthew Berlyant
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There are many rock and roll guitarists and then there is Eddie Van Halen. What is well-known is his speedy finger-tapping, mind-blowing soloing, and flashy technique, all incredibly influential on many ’80s hard rock and heavy metal players as well as seemingly everyone who’s ever wandered into a Guitar Center. While all of that is important and should be acknowledged, Van Halen was also a gifted songwriter, excellent piano and synth player (he started out on piano in grade school), and had incredible guitar tone for days. This made it so that his playing and his band (of course also named Van Halen) had appeal to more than just guitar heads. Songs like “Ain’t Talkin’ About Love” (memorably sort of covered by The Minutemen in 1984), “Unchained,” “Panama,” and the pop crossover hit “Jump” (the biggest of their career up to that point) all prove that point and are imminently hummable. And the hits didn’t stop after David Lee Roth left in 1985. He achieved similar success with replacement singer Sammy Hagar (who had been in Montrose) that yielded more platinum albums and memorable hits such as “When It’s Love,” “Right Now,” and many others. 

Furthermore, his revolutionary (yes, revolutionary!) approach to his instrument paved the way for a far less blues-based and less roots-based approach to hard rock on the Sunset Strip and other locales in the decade to come and beyond that their main influence, the aforementioned  Montrose, as well as others like KISS and Aerosmith, had only hinted at, almost like what Ramones’ similarly revolutionary approach to rock music achieved in influencing the entire New York punk, hardcore, New Wave, and no wave/experimental scenes. His contributions to other people’s records were also prominent, most notably on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” a song he also helped rearrange in addition to dropping a memorable solo in the mix. He passed away from cancer at the age of 65 and will be missed.

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