Eddie Van Halen, the legendary guitarist, songwriter, and co-founder of the rock band, Van Halen, passed away on October 6 at the age of 65. Eddie and his brother Alex founded Van Halen in 1972 which also featured Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth and later Sammy Hagar. He was known for his exuberant, lightning-fast solos. Eddie's guitar sound, heavy on tapping, with both hands on the neck of the instrument, made him one of the all-time great guitar players in rock history. A blend of spontaneity and precision ran through Eddie's greatest performances.
Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Van Halen became increasingly successful. Early hits such as 1979's "Dance the Night Away" eventually gave way to the bestselling 1984, the band's sixth album which spawned the chart-topping "Jump," as well as flamboyant hits like "Panama" and "Hot for Teacher." They went to the top of the charts with its next four albums: 5150 (1986), OU812 (1988), For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991), and Balance (1995).
Some of Eddie's solos that showcase his guitar techniques were "Eruption" and "I'm the One" from Van Halen, "Cathedral" from Diver Down, "Mean Street" from Fair Warning, and "Drop Dead Legs" from 1984. Eddie Van Halen took less than an hour to record the electrifying solo on Michael Jackson's "Beat It," and he wasn't even paid for it.
Eddie Van Halen also dedicated his time to tweaking and adjusting the tools of his trade. The man who created the Frankenstrat (a cross between a Fender and a Gibson electric guitar) holds three different patents having to do with guitars.
For the album, Unlawful Carnal Knowledge the Van Halen band received Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Album at the 1992 American Music Awards and the 1992 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocals. Also, they received MTV Music video awards for Best Stage Performance in a Video for Jump in 1984 and Video of the Year for Right Now in 1992. In 2007 Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Listen to some of Van Halen's music or read biographies about Eddie Van Halen and Van Halen on Hoopla.