Eddie Van Halen the legendary guitar innovator and virtuoso who led Van Halen through five decades and three lead singers, establishing himself as one of the all-time great players in rock history, died Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 65. “I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning,” his son Wolfgang Van Halen wrote. “He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift. My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss.” “40 years ago my life changed forever when I met you,” Van Halen’s ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli wrote. “You gave me the one true light in my life, our son, Wolfgang. Through all your challenging treatments for lung cancer, you kept your gorgeous spirit and that impish grin. I’m so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments. I will see you in our next life my love.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vg9WFskPV4Y&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1xjQZZESoF8ROkrcLFgbO1DsaQdlufYcrb6qvnG6EfXGOq7vuwT8JS4RI&ab_channel=addadd55“Heartbroken and speechless,” added Sammy Hagar. “My love to the family.” Were it not for his titanic influence, hard rock after the late 1970s would have evolved in unimaginably different ways. He may not have invented two-handed tapping, but he perfected the practice and introduced it to a mass audience. Yet despite his complete mastery of the electric guitar, he never learned to read music.“I don’t know shit about scales or music theory,” he told Rolling Stone in 1980. “I don’t want to be seen as the fastest guitar in town, ready and willing to gun down the competition. All I know is that rock & roll guitar, like blues guitar, should be melody, speed, and taste, but more important, it should have emotion. I just want my guitar playing to make people feel something: happy, sad, even horny.” Even through Montrose’s Sammy Hagar replacing original frontman David Lee Roth in 1985, Van Halen ruled the rock world from their explosive self-titled LP in 1978 — perhaps the most perfect debut by any group in rock history — all the way to the mid-1990s, when they parted ways with Hagar. The 2000s were marked by battles with alcohol, erratic public behavior, and nostalgic reunion tours with Hagar and Roth, but very little in the way of new music.
 
 
 

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Still, no matter who was fronting the group or when they had their last hit, fans never stopped flocking to Van Halen concerts to worship at the altar of Eddie Van Halen. “I suppose what bothers me is that often the kids don’t even notice when I’m bad,” he told Rolling Stone. “I come offstage and get compliments up the ass. That’s so frustrating.” Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was born in Nijmegen, Netherlands, on January 26th, 1955, a year and half after his older brother, Alex. His father, Jan, was gifted at the clarinet, saxophone, and piano. “It was difficult to make money playing his type of music,” Eddie told Rolling Stone in 1995. “So he joined the [Dutch] air force band, and he played marches. Every morning at six o’clock he’d have to go up there freezing his ass off and play marches. We’d listen to all those march records, and Al and I would parade around the table in the living room and take pots and pans, doing all that kind of stuff. And at night we’d hear him playing classical music downstairs. He loved classical and jazz.” The family immigrated to America when Eddie was eight and settled in Pasadena, California. An infatuation with the Dave Clark Five caused Eddie to take up the drums, while Alex tried his hands at guitar. One fateful day, frustrated that he couldn’t nail the Surfaris’ “Wipe Out” on the drums, Eddie swapped instruments with Alex, and the change stuck.