Over the last week the staff at the Van Halen News Desk has been doing our best to bring you the overwhelming amount of stories and tributes coming in regarding the passing of Eddie Van Halen. Today we’d like to take some time to offer our thoughts, condolences and tributes to the man who has brought us so much joy for over four decades.
Below are the thoughts from some of the staff members of the VHND along with some noteworthy people who have offered us their exclusive comments:
JEFF HAUSMAN – Owner, Publisher, Editor of the Van Halen News Desk:
How do I feel about Eddie Van Halen not being part of our world anymore? When the news hit… I don’t think there are words to describe how that felt. This event brought us the worst news ever. But it also lead to something profoundly beautiful – witnessing the outpouring of love, passion, appreciation and thankfulness from musicians and fans all over the world.
He will always be, by far, my favorite musician. His presence on Earth changed the lives of millions of people, and at the very least, entertained even more than that.
Hard to describe how I feel, but I know that this is a feeling that I’ll have for a very long time.
Long live Edward Van Halen! I know I’ll be enjoying everything he gave us for the rest of my life.
PAMELA HAZELTON – Marketing, Design, Development & Social Media for Van Halen News Desk:
The news hit me like a ton of Adam Sandlers, playing ukuleles and singing off-key. I received a text from my longest-running client Jeff Hausman who owns the world’s largest store selling official merchandise of one band: Van Halen. It was short, to the point:
Pamela, Eddie died today 🙁
In the ’80s — long before cell phones and computers you could haul in a backpack — young teens could be seen walking much of the world’s main streets donning Walkman headphones. In the park, there was always someone playing what our parents called noise through a then state-of-the-art boombox. The coolest of guys, of course, would open the back of a station wagon, showing off a JBL cabinet speaker they’d magically connected to the car stereo. Good times.
I’m in the minority with my favorite Van Halen album being ‘Diver Down‘. Released in 1982, I wouldn’t discover this sweet gem until two years later while hanging with some friends on a Saturday night. Okay, partying with people who were mostly older than me.
Someone pulled the original ‘Diver Down‘ cassette out of a bag and played both sides. It immediately served as the soundtrack to my summer. The albums that preceded and followed were all stellar in their own ways. Ahh, but ‘Diver Down‘ was my beat. There was something about the way it showcased Eddie’s mad skills with David Lee Roth’s luring voice as he sang classic covers like The Kinks’ “Where Have All the Good Times Gone,” Martha and the Vandellas’ “Dancing in the Street,” and Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman.” Damn.
Don’t get me wrong. Had I heard ‘Diver Down‘ during a different time of my life, I’d likely lean heavily toward the debut ‘Van Halen‘, followed by ‘1984‘. Still, whenever a VH tune kicks in on the radio, I’m all in.
No, I have never met Eddie (Jeff Hausman knew him) or any other band member (Jeff knows them all!). Still, after all these years of working in the trenches of two websites covering nothing but Van Halen, Eddie’s passing is a tough pill to swallow.
You see, you don’t have to have known someone to feel the pain of losing them. Guitar legends like Eddie Van Halen — often referred to as GOAT — don’t come along but once in your lifetime. And when you think about all the different forms of entertainment, music is the one that makes you feel the deepest, hurt the hardest, smile the biggest. The idea there will never be another original guitar riff quite like Eddie’s is mind-numbing.
For some, October 6, 2020 really was the day the music died. One of the first people I reached out to when the news went public was a longtime friend living thousands of miles away. It took him 12 hours to respond. He told me he’d shed plenty of tears and wound up leaving work early. And I understood. Because this friend is one of the most loyal Eddie fans I know.
Two days after Eddie’s death his brother Alex sent the Van Halen News Desk a short message. It was accompanied by a photo of the two Van Halen brothers when they were oh so young. I stayed up all night to make sure the scheduled post went live on time so Jeff could get some much-needed rest. For a few minutes, I took comfort knowing only a handful of people knew what Alex said. When the post went live on the site and across VHND’s social channels, I watched the comments flood in. And I knew that fans of Eddie felt the same as I. Two days straight isn’t very long to be playing your favorite VH tracks on repeat. We’ll be doing that for quite some time.
Riff in peace, Eddie Van Halen
ERIC SENICH – Contributing writer for the Van Halen News Desk:
I cannot even count the times throughout my life from the moment I became a fan at the age of 16 back on Christmas Eve of 1988 when I listened to the ‘5150’ album ’till now where the sound of Eddie Van Halen’s music has been there. Not just in the background but there as if it were a life-long best friend.
I have said this many times before. There is nothing that ignites a fire inside of me like the sound of an Edward Van Halen guitar riff. It delivers the exact same feeling inside of me at 48 that it did at age 18, 28 and 38. It wasn’t just the onslaught of notes he could play….it was how he played them. It’s always going to be the music of my youth no matter how old I get. His sound is the sound of youth. Fearless. Explosive. Dangerous….Raw energy, endlessly untapped. It makes you feel like you can take on the world’s biggest problems, no matter what the obstacle.
Van Halen fans know all about the wars between Eddie and some of his band mates and the wars between fans over which era was better. Today none of that matters.. None of it. All indications are that Eddie made peace with Dave, with Sammy and Michael. He was as happy as he’d ever been playing on stage with his son Wolfgang who is now a grown man and ready to begin his own career.
Eddie’s now entered a new world while we are all now living in a very different world here. A world without Eddie Van Halen. At least not in the physical sense. But his music will live on long after we leave here.
Every now and then I wonder if the younger generation even knows who Eddie is let alone are fans but I think I got my answer. On the night of Eddie’s passing I was walking downtown and from out of nowhere I heard that sound. The sound of an Eddie Van Halen guitar riff. I assumed it was someone my age, mid to late 40s driving around with the windows rolled down honoring his guitar hero. It wasn’t. It was a kid maybe 16, 17 years old circling around on his bicycle with the sound of Van Halen’s “Fire In The Hole” cranked all the way up on his phone. He was making it obvious. He wanted everyone nearby to hear it. And they did. There were some people eating outside a restaurant on the sidewalk and their heads turned. I stopped in my tracks, turned toward him, tried to subtly get his attention. Maybe give him a nod to let him know I was a fan. Then he drove off into the night. I couldn’t help but smile and thought to myself: “Everything’s gonna be alright. Eddie’s music WILL live on”.
Thank you Edward Van Halen….You gave us so much. Now it’s our turn to return the favor. Your music is in good hands.
KEVIN DODDS – Contributing writer for the Van Halen News Desk & Author of “Edward Van Halen: A Definitive Biography”:
The influence on a young Kevin by Van Halen, specifically Eddie Van Halen? It can’t be measured. I’ve said that the measure of the impact he had on me would be as futile as trying to measure the weight of the sand on the face of the Earth.
I was able to see the ‘1984’ concert on July 10th, 1984 at the Summit in Houston, Texas with my best friend at the time. He and I both played guitar, we had never played together or thought anything about playing in a band. We were so heavily impacted and influenced by what we saw that night that almost immediately we started playing music together. The first three songs we learned in order were “Runnin’ With The Devil”, “You Really Got Me” Van Halen style, and “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bou Love”. The first three songs on ‘Van Halen’ one, those are what we learned.
Later that fall, in the fall of 1984 my best friend and I had Texas history class together and we had a class project where we performed a parody of “Panama”. Right there, right away the influence was huge on me.
Just looking back on this whole experience of writing the book about him and getting to meet him and having my life largely shaped by him he will never be forgotten and he will always be appreciated. I loved him to death. He was my idol, he was my hero and I will continue to celebrate his legacy and his life until my final day.
GREG RENOFF – Author of “Van Halen Rising” & ” Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life in Music”
Like everybody else I was shocked when the news broke last week that Eddie passed away. He’s someone who, as a fan, has been a part of my life since I was a sophomore, freshman in high school so it’s definitely a hard to accept that he’s gone.
I would say that the thing that has been most heartening to me in the days since his passing has been the incredible outpouring of support from around the world. If you search Twitter, if you search Facebook it’s really remarkable how far Van Halen’s music and Eddie’s playing and Eddie’s contributions to the world of rock music went. You could see everyone from politicians in Europe to athletes in Europe to members of The Oakridge Boys, country music guys in the United States, every rock player you can imagine all commenting and paying tribute to the great Eddie Van Halen. That to me is a life well lived.
His legacy is going to live forever, he’s made his mark, and I for my part will do my best to honor his legacy in any way I can with my writing or in anything else.
I just want to send my condolences to the Van Halen family, anyone who loved him, who was close to him. I hope for healing for you and I hope he rests in peace.
IAN CHRISTIE – Author of “Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga”:
We all know we’ve lost an incomparable talent and gifted musician in Edward Lodewijk Van Halen. He brought so many people to life as young kids and teenagers hearing his guitar playing for the first time.
Whether we went on to be musicians or whatever. Brick layers and soldiers and sea captains and lawyers. That blazing example of some kid toiling away in his bedroom perfecting his passion and his obsession I think has been a constant in our lives ever since the 1970s with that perfect first string of Van Halen albums.
Always a dazzling larger than life guitar hero but much more than that. He fundamentally changed electric guitar playing by changing the instrument. It’s not just his playing that was emulated and basically became 1980s heavy metal guitar playing. His modifications to the instrument were copied…His amplifiers have just become standard in hard rock and heavy metal. Whether you know it or not, whether the people playing these amps know it or not they’re delving into “The Brown Sound” and beyond thanks to the graces of Eddie Van Halen.
He radically changed the world, he left behind a completely different place than it was when he found it. One of the most important American musicians ever. One of the most important 20th century musicians ever. He inspired us to reach for the stars and now he’s ascended to the stars.
Hail to Eddie Van Halen! Happy Trails!
Eric Senich has uploaded a Van Halen News Desk/Eddie Van Halen tribute special in conjunction with his podcast DISCovery with Eric Senich. Hear even more tributes from authors Greg Prato (“Shredders! The Oral History Of Speed Guitar (And More)”), Martin Popoff (“Unchained: A Van Halen User Manuel”) along with photographer/author Mark Weiss (“The Decade That Rocked”) and Carl Wiser (owner of Songfacts.com) are included.
Eric also reads and plays audio of several tributes from the past week on social media, radio and television from David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Gary Cherone along with Ted Templeman, Gene Simmons, Angus Young, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Nuno Bettencourt, Mick Jones, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Jimmy Page, Slash, Jon Bon Jovi, Howard Stern and many more.
Listen to the special tribute episode below:Listen to “Episode 92 | A VHND/DISCovery Tribute To Eddie Van Halen” on Spreaker.
A special thanks to artist BaylinerBob for contributing his artwork. See more of his work on Flickr HERE.