Doug Fox from the VHND and The Daily Herald has put together his list of the best Eddie Van Halen guitar solos ever, and we have to say this is our favorite list ever written on the subject! So dive right in….and naturally, be sure to listen to the solos as you make your way down the list… we KNOW you’ll be totally blown away by Eddie for the zillionth time!
Solo Endeavor: Tapping into Eddie Van Halen’s 15 Greatest Guitar Solos
Guitarist extraordinaire Eddie Van Halen has often described his style of soloing as falling down the stairs and landing on his feet.
I think it is best defined, however, by saying he slides down the banister with thrill-a-second dexterity before somersaulting off the rail and totally sticking the landing.
Whatever your preferred point of reference, there is no denying that the now 60-year-old axeman literally changed the face of electric guitar since taking a flame thrower to contemporary players when he and his band debuted on the scene in 1978.
Utah rock fans will have the rare opportunity to witness the truly transcendent guitarist — as well as the band that bears his last name — as Van Halen performs in concert on Saturday at USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City. The show marks the first time the band — also including Alex and Wolf Van Halen — has appeared with frontman David Lee Roth in Utah since 1984.
In honor of Saturday’s rare Van Halen visit to the Beehive State, I thought it would be worthwhile — and challenging — to put together a list of Eddie’s top guitar solos. I always have to laugh a little whenever seeing lists that set out to detail the “100 Greatest Guitar Solos” or some such nonsense because they always try to spread the wealth around among a bevy of worthy contenders. But the truth is, as I see it anyway, such lists could legitimately contain at least a dozen Van Halen solos without straining credibility.
Great Van Halen solos come in myriad iterations. They can be found in the middle of songs, of course, but they also show up at the beginning, at the end or they can even encompass the entire tune itself. There are no rules: If it sounds good, it is good.
Most VH best-of lists stop at 10. But when he was honored by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in February as part of its “What it means to be American” program, Van Halen, referring to his penchant for pushing the musical envelope, said, “When Spinal Tap was going to 11, I was going to 15.”
With that in mind, I’m pushing this greatest Van Halen guitar solos lists to the same limit. No list can be truly definitive or satisfy everyone. But these are my own favorites of those recorded during the Roth album years.
15. “I’M THE ONE”
This scorcher off the band’s debut album helped set the bar for speed and precision Van Halen guitar solos. There are actually two separate solo turns in this song, the first lasting 16 seconds and the second sprinting for 17 seconds before culminating in the “Shooby Doo Wah” harmony breakdown.
14. “CHINA TOWN”
This rocker off 2012’s “A Different Kind of Truth” shows that Van Halen was back at the top of his game following a 14-year break between studio albums. This comeback album, in fact, was chock full of fantastic guitar solos — including those in songs like “Blood and Fire” and “The Trouble With Never,” which just missed the cut. “China Town” — and its twin guitar solo highlights, in the middle and end of the song — would have been my choice for lead single instead of “Tattoo.”
13. “SOMEBODY GET ME A DOCTOR”
Following a neat volume swell bridge and Roth’s “woo-woo,” this rollicking solo lasts 32 seconds while utilizing most of the fretboard with no tapping sequence. It also includes a nice set of harmonics in the middle.
12. “TAKE YOUR WHISKEY HOME”
Another two-solo gem. The initial burst is a brief nine-second shot across the bow of the good ship “Women and Children First,” and the second is the standout segment and doubled in length. During the final 10 seconds of the second solo, the band drops out several times intermittently so you hear only the guitar — which sounds as cool as can be.
Another in the series of “Is this keyboards or is it guitar?” Van Halen creations, this unique tune was a mind-blower back when it was released on “Diver Down” in 1982. The guitar effect of fingering chords on the fretboard with his left hand while rapidly manipulating the volume knob back and forth with his right, created a church organ-esque sound — hence the song’s name.