On this day in 1987, Eddie Van Halen finger-tapped and whammy-bar-dived his way through a bluesy rave-up alongside G. E. Smith and the Saturday Night Live band.
Video of the performance is below, along with video of G.E. Smith reminiscing about the experience.
The footage of the unique jam is constantly being taken down from YouTube, but we discovered a pristine video supplied by SNL themselves. Watch the footage from Feb. 28th, 1987 below. Classic stuff!
Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli appeared on Saturday Night Live on February 28th, 1987, between Van Halen’s 5150 and OU812 albums and tours. Eddie accompanied Valerie Bertinelli to the taping of this particular episode and wound up not only jamming a song with G.E. Smith, Tom “T-Bone” Wolk (both of Hall and Oates fame), and the Saturday Night Live band, but performing in a humorous skit as well, entitled, “Dinner at the Van Halens“. The show was filmed at the GE building in Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY.
The bluesy instrumental jam Ed played was titled “Stompin’ 8H” after the name of the studio the show was filmed in. Smith handled rhythm guitar on his beaten up Fender Telecaster, while Edward shot his patented licks from his Kramer 5150 Strat over the top.
The stodgy backing players and Eddie’s preppy sport jacket and newly-cropped haircut brought to mind Michael J. Fox miming to Eddie’s guitar tracks in the 1950s sock hop in Back to the Future–a conservative step back to the good old days of rock and roll.
Watch Eddie & G.E. Smith jam: