Things We Saw Today: Eddie Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020)
Rock legend Eddie Van Halen of the band Van Halen has passed away from throat cancer. The Amsterdam-born guitarist who would go on to become an “all-American guitar hero” and the “grinning guitar god for a rock generation,” as The Los Angeles Times phrased it, was 65.
Van Halen’s son Wolfgang posted a touching goodbye to his father on Twitter.
— Wolf Van Halen (@WolfVanHalen) October 6, 2020
In a year where grief seems to follow grief in unrelenting waves, fans, friends, and fellow musicians took to social media to remember Eddie Van Halen and hail his contributions to music. Van Halen hits like “Jump” and “Hot For Teacher,” among many others, are an indelible part of pop culture now, with Eddie Van Halen’s signature lightning-quick guitar licks lighting up the songs.
Per The LA Times:
One night at the Starwood nightclub in West Hollywood in 1976, Kiss singer-bassist Gene Simmons happened to catch the unknown band onstage and its grinning guitar phenom at stage left.
“This band comes on, and all of a sudden, I forget about everybody around me. I go, ‘What’s that?’” Simmons recalls. “Even though the band was a three-piece, there was a big sound coming out of them and Eddie was tapping the neck — which I’d never seen done on guitar before — with speed and accuracy in the melody. They simply didn’t sound like anybody else. There was a kind of fury.”
My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul. Rest in peace, Eddie! …Eddie Van Halen Dead at 65 from Cancer https://t.co/gITtcndQVv
— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) October 6, 2020
Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family. pic.twitter.com/MQMueMF2XO
— Sammy Hagar (@sammyhagar) October 6, 2020
RIP Eddie Van Halen, a true guitar god. there’s only a handful of guitarist that changed the way we play guitar. condolences to your family. https://t.co/j6f2MHTOQH
— Gilby Clarke (@gilbyclarke) October 6, 2020
Van Halen was the first band I ever saw in concert, and pretty much every girl my age had a crush on Eddie. His talent and charm were immeasurable. Condolences to @WolfVanHalen, @Wolfiesmom, and everyone who loved him. https://t.co/fZgAYxTC33
— shauna (@goldengateblond) October 6, 2020
Eddie Van Halen 💔
He donated the prototype for his “Frankenstein” guitar to Guitar Center where it’s encased outside the Hollywood store’s entrance where the Hollywood RockWalk is located with his plaque, handprints and signature.
— Pamela Chelin (@PamelaChelin) October 6, 2020
I just heard about Eddie Van Halen and I feel terrible about it. Eddie was such a great guitarist and I remember how big Van Halen was, especially here in L.A. Love and Mercy to Eddie’s family & friends. pic.twitter.com/PY8fyrx1Lu
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) October 6, 2020
I’m just devastated to hear the news of the passing of my dear friend Eddie Van Halen. He fought a long and hard battle with his cancer right to the very end. Eddie was one of a very special kind of person, a really great friend. Rest In Peace my dear friend till we meet again. pic.twitter.com/Qs8tsLPANJ
— Tony Iommi (@tonyiommi) October 6, 2020
How good was Eddie Van Halen? That’s his guitar you’re hearing in Beat It.
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) October 6, 2020
— DistroKid (@DistroKid) October 6, 2020
Eddie Van Halen is credited with popularizing the two-handed tapping technique and is widely considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time 🙏https://t.co/mG0Y5o1qIS
— Genius (@Genius) October 6, 2020
I love this story so much.
— Ryan Parker (@TheRyanParker) October 6, 2020
Of all the guitarists I got to play with, he was my favorite. RIP Eddie Van Halen
— Paul Shaffer (@paulshaffer) October 6, 2020
RIP to Eddie Van Halen. He was an absolute legend that influenced so many musicians and used his gift to create hit after hit. You will be missed, but your memory and art will live on!
— CC (@christiancoma) October 6, 2020
Sad to hear Eddie Van Halen has passed away. A guitar innovator with a fierce spirit of musical and technical exploration. Prayers and thoughts with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/TI4ipeIXbR
— Yusuf / Cat Stevens (@YusufCatStevens) October 6, 2020
Legendary guitar and musical innovator Edward Van Halen. 1955-2020. Heaven will be electric tonight. pic.twitter.com/hdLd7atI74
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) October 6, 2020
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) October 6, 2020
Van Halen 1984.
The anticipation of the crowd.
Fans losing their minds over Eddie Van Halen and the first chords of Unchained.
Roth popping out and fans exploding on site.
This is rock and roll. pic.twitter.com/xqcXp39YEq
— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) October 6, 2020
The LA Times’ Steve Appleford has written a fascinating look at Eddie Van Valen, exploring the ups and downs of the rocker’s life and career, as well as Van Halen’s lasting impact on the world of music. It’s well worth being the thing that you read today:
Eddie Van Halen was an immigrant kid who emerged from Pasadena with an ear for hard-rock hooks and wild guitar flash in the Jimi Hendrix tradition. His speed and innovations along the fretboard inspired a generation of imitators, as the band bearing his name rose to MTV stardom and multiplatinum sales over 10 consecutive albums.
In contrast to the shadowy gothic blues of Black Sabbath, or the pagan thunder of Led Zeppelin, the band Van Halen delivered muscular hard rock in Technicolor. The group’s sound and image were vivid reflections of its Southern California home, with a lead guitarist in bright colors and a welcoming, good-time grin.
Thank you, Eddie.
(via The LA Times, photo by Alan Light/Wikimedia Commons)
Here are a few other things we saw:
- A happy thing: Science fiction author and multiple Hugo award-winner N.K. Jemisin has been named a MacArthur fellow!! (via Tor.com)
- Another happy thing: Chris Hemsworth and his wife Elsa Pataky helped conservationists release 11 Tasmanian devils at a wildlife sanctuary. (via People.com)
- Also this is happening:
I know that this dude is impervious to information. But if Section 230 were repealed, Twitter would be liable for any libelous statements in Trump’s tweets, and would almost certainly delete his account. https://t.co/TACdbiVc0R
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) October 6, 2020
- There’s a Resident Evil reboot, I guess? At least I will watch Hannah John-Kamen in anything. (via Deadline)
BREAKING: A grand jury just indicted Mark and Patricia McCloskey on charges of exhibiting guns at protesters in a June incident in their neighborhood. Additionally, the grand jury added a charge of tampering with evidence for both members of the couple. https://t.co/DgMrS3sYVU
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) October 6, 2020
Biden says that if Amy Coney Barrett were to be part of a Supreme Court majority overturning Roe v. Wade, his response would be “to pass legislation making Roe the law of the land.”
— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) October 6, 2020
- Vote on November 3rd.
What did you see today?
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