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Edward Lodewijk Van Halen


1972-1974 Van Halen - guitars, keyboards, vocals (as Eddie Van Halen)  
1974-2002 Van Halen - guitars, keyboards (as Eddie Van Halen)  
2002-2004 Van Halen - guitars, keyboards, bass (as Eddie Van Halen)  
2004-2020 Van Halen - guitars, keyboards (as Eddie Van Halen)  

Guest musician

1982 Michael Jackson - guitars (as Eddie Van Halen)  
1994 Black Sabbath - guitar solo (as Eddie Van Halen)  

Personal information

Also known as: Eddie Van Halen
Born on: 26.01.1955
Died on: 06.10.2020

Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen (born January 26, 1955) is a Dutch-born American guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter and producer, best known as the lead guitarist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Eddie Van Halen is commonly known for his innovative performing and recording styles in blues-based rock, tapping, intense solos and high frequency feedback; he is also known for energetic and acrobatic stage performances. The All Music Guide has described him as "Second to only Jimi Hendrix...undoubtedly one of the most influential, original, and talented rock guitarists of the 20th century.". He is ranked 70th on the Rolling Stone list of Top 100 guitarists.

Early life and career

Born in the Netherlands, Edward Lodewijk van Halen is a son of clarinetist, saxophonist and pianist father Jan van Halen and mother Eugenia. Eugenia van Halen was originally from Indonesia. Edward's middle name was derived from composer Ludwig van Beethoven[citation needed]. (Lodewijk is the Dutch version of Ludwig.) Edward continued this naming tradition by naming his son Wolfgang Van Halen after composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Edward was born in Nijmegen. In February 1962, at the age of seven, Edward moved with his family to the United States, settling in Pasadena, California.
Van Halen learned to play the piano as a child and placed first in several different talent shows. His older brother Alex also played the piano. However, playing the piano did not prove to be challenging or interesting to him ? he once said in an interview, "Who wants to sit in front of the piano? That's boring." Consequently, while Alex began playing the guitar, Eddie bought a drum kit and began practicing. He would practice for hours day after day. After Eddie heard Alex's performance of the The Surfaris' drum solo in the song "Wipe Out", he grew annoyed that his brother had overtaken his ability and decided to switch and begin learning how to play the electric guitar.

He has stated that he would often walk around at home with his guitar strapped on and unplugged, practicing. He claims that he would sit in his room for hours with the door locked as a teen, practicing the guitar.

Van Halen notes the importance of supergroup Cream, holding their improvisation in high regard, considering 'I'm so Glad' on 'Goodbye Cream' to be mind-blowing. He once claimed that he had learned almost all of Eric Clapton's solos in the band Cream "note for note". Eddie has stated: "I've always said Eric Clapton was my main influence, but Jimmy Page was actually more the way I am, in a reckless-abandon kind of way."

Formation of Van Halen

Van Halen, originally called "Genesis" with bass player Mark Stone, changed their name to "Mammoth" when they discovered there was already a band (from England) with the name "Genesis". The band consisted of Eddie Van Halen on guitar and vocals, his brother, Alex on drums, and bassist Mark Stone. They had no P.A. system of their own, so they rented one from David Lee Roth ? a service for which he charged $10 a night. Eddie quickly became frustrated singing lead vocals, and decided they could save money by letting Roth into the band., Michael Anthony replaced Mark Stone on bass. They opted to change the name of the band because David Lee Roth suggested that the last name of the two brothers "sounded cool." At one point the group considered calling themselves 'Rat Salade', before deciding on Van Halen. The band originally began playing cover material, ranging from pop to disco, before setting on original material.

In 1976 Rodney Bingenheimer took Gene Simmons to see one of Van Halen's shows. Gene Simmons then produced a Van Halen demo tape with recording beginning at the Village Recorder studios in Los Angeles and finished with overdubs at the Electric Lady Studios in New York. In mid 1977, Van Halen was offered a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records. After recording a set of demos, they recorded their first album "Van Halen" in mid September to early October 1977, which was released on February 10, 1978.

Tension with David Lee Roth

Van Halen released a total of six albums: Van Halen (1978), Van Halen II (1979), Women and Children First (1980), Fair Warning (1981), Diver Down (1982), and 1984 (1984); however, the band had trouble working together as a cohesive unit; according to Gene Simmons' book Kiss and Make-Up, Eddie Van Halen approached Simmons in 1982 about possibly joining Kiss, replacing Ace Frehley. According to Simmons, Eddie did so chiefly due to his personality conflicts with Roth.

Simmons and Alex persuaded Eddie to remain in Van Halen, while Kiss decided to replace Frehley with Vinnie Vincent, and shortly afterwards the band released the album 1984; which yielded the band's first #1 hit, "Jump". Other singles released from the album also sold well, particularly "Hot for Teacher", the video for which featured a skimpily dressed model playing the part of elementary school teacher and school-age boys portraying younger versions of the band members. The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard charts, behind Thriller by Michael Jackson, on which Eddie also played.

Jimmy Page said at the time: "For my money, Eddie Van Halen was the first significant new kid on the block. Very dazzling".

In 1982 Eddie was invited by producer Quincy Jones to contribute the guitar solo for Michael Jackson's new recording for Thriller, "Beat It". Van Halen improvised and integrated for the recording the familiar Van Halen-styled guitar solo bridge in the new song. Part of rock lore, credit for his work on the noteworthy track would be sufficient and Van Halen declined the payment he was offered for his performance.

Addition of Sammy Hagar

With the arrival of former Montrose singer Sammy Hagar in July 1985, the band's sound changed somewhat to adapt to the strengths of the new vocalist, as Eddie's keyboard playing became a permanent fixture, heard in songs such as "Dreams" and "Love Walks In". Even on the more rocking, guitar-driven songs, Eddie's performances became looser, less aggressive, and some said more thoughtful, while others said more commercial. The change in sound and pace prompted many fans, both positively and negatively, to refer to the band as "Van Hagar." However, tensions within the band again arose over identity and artist direction, and Hagar, like Roth earlier, departed in June 1996. Hagar left behind him a portfolio of 4 studio albums with the band (5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and Balance) as well as one live album (Live: Right Here, Right Now).

Reunion with Hagar

In 2004, Van Halen returned with Hagar as their lead singer. A greatest hits package, The Best of Both Worlds, was released to coincide with the band's reunion tour. The album included three new tracks recorded with Hagar ("Up For Breakfast", "It's About Time", & "Learning to See").

The band toured the U.S., covering 80 cities. The tour earned $55 million.

Reunion with Roth

On February 2, 2007, it was officially announced on the band's website that David Lee Roth would rejoin Van Halen for their summer tour. The excitement regarding the tour waned when on February 20, 2007, reports surfaced that the tour was indefinitely postponed. A previously planned compilation of Roth era Van Halen hits was likewise shelved. However, after six months and a stint in rehabilitation for Eddie, it was finally confirmed by the band on August 13 at a press conference in Los Angeles that they would do a tour with the new lineup from late 2007-mid 2008 across North America, with further worldwide touring and a new album proposed to follow later on.

Persistent rumors had long indicated the Van Halen brothers were in talks with Roth to rejoin the band for a tour and/or new material.

Van Halen's then 15-year old son Wolfgang was to play bass in Van Halen in the fall (replacing Michael Anthony), Van Halen claimed his son's presence would have a positive effect on the band:

Wolfgang breathes life into what we're doing. He brings youthfulness to something that's inherently youthful. To have my son follow in my footsteps on his own, without me pushing him into it, is the greatest feeling in the world.

1999 onwards

Suffering from lingering injuries from past high-risk acrobatic stage antics and crashes, Eddie Van Halen underwent hip replacement surgery in November 1999, after an existing chronic condition became unbearable.

In April 2001, Eddie confirmed that since May 2000, that he had been undergoing treatment for tongue cancer. The subsequent surgery removed roughly a third of his tongue. He would be declared cancer-free in May 2002.

Since the 2004 tour, Eddie Van Halen has largely disappeared from the public eye, with the exception of occasional appearances such as the 14th annual Elton John Academy Awards party, and a performance at a Kenny Chesney concert.

In December 2004, Eddie attended "Dimebag" Darrell Lance Abbott's funeral, and donated the black and yellow guitar featured on the Van Halen II album inlay, stating that it was always a favorite of Dimebag's. The guitar was put in Darrell's Kiss Kasket, and he was buried with it.

On December 5, 2005, Eddie's wife, Valerie Bertinelli, filed for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court, after four years of separation.

On March 8, 2007, Van Halen announced on the official band website that Eddie was entering rehabilitation for unspecified reasons. However, both Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony have made statements indicating that Ed's personality had changed due to alcohol abuse. Hagar, Anthony and David Lee Roth have repeatedly stated their support and well wishes towards Ed's recovery since the announcement.

Van Halen emerged from rehabilitation and appeared publicly as an honorary official during the April 21, 2007 NASCAR event at Phoenix International Raceway. He also unveiled a new Fender Stratocaster with a paint-job made for the NASCAR races before the ceremony.

In 2007, Eddie was honored in the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II. A player receives the "Eddie Van Halen" achievement for hitting 500 or more notes in succession.

Van Halen toured the U.S. and Canada (Eddie, Alex, Wolfgang, and Roth) from Sept. 2007 until summer 2008. On October 6, 2008, it was reported that Eddie Van Halen proposed to his girlfriend Janie Liszewski, an actress and stuntwoman who became Van Halen's publicist in 2007. He proposed to her while vacationing in Hawaii. The two married on June 27, 2009 at his Studio City estate, with his son and ex-wife Valerie in attendance. The rocker's brother, Alex Van Halen, officiated the ceremony, while his son served as best man.

On January 1, 2011, Eddie attended Valerie Bertinelli's wedding, along with his son Wolfgang.

In mid-January 2011, he attended the winter NAMM Show to present his new Wolfgang guitars, sharing the Fender booth with other fellow guitar player Yngwie Malmsteen