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Eddie Van Halen dies at 65

Sad news tonight as legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen has died, aged 65.

The co-founder of Van Halen had been undergoing treatment for throat cancer and his son confirmed the news on Instagram saying:

“I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning.”

Van Halen formed in the early 1970s and released 12 studio albums, the last being A Different Type of Truth in 2012.

45 responses to Eddie Van Halen dies at 65

  1. Jason Cook says:

    The Van Halen family have stated that they will check Eddie’s 5150 studio tape archives to see if there is anything of release quality, and there are thousands of hours of music that Eddie recorded and archived that haven’t been released. Most likely his son Wolfgang will be doing this, he chose the songs on the last studio album A Different Kind of Truth from music found there and the band re-recorded the ones he chose.
    So there is a very good chance there will be more, and perhaps stuff that is unfinished but good can be finished by Wolfie, as he plays drums, guitar, bass, and a little keyboard.

  2. B-57 says:

    (EVH) a wizard – Angus Young

  3. Mathew Lauren says:

    Thanks for the great songs, that helped provide a soundtrack to the memories of my youth!

    Rock on!

    RIP, Edward

  4. Guy.S says:

    Was really hoping for a reunion with Sammy and Michael, sadly this is not going to happen. Love the band with all the different vocalists, even on his later work (For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Balance) there is magic to be found.

  5. Larry Davis says:

    One other thing…VH are not a band collector-oriented…no deluxe editions, no rare B-sides or unreleased material…to me, that’s not a good thing, but others May differ…

  6. Àlex Q. says:

    I was only thirteen when I heard the VH cover of You Really Got Me. That day I discovered VH and The Kinks both, and I still love them.
    Gràcies per tot, Eddie!

  7. Dennis Mosen says:

    One of the best guitarists ever seen them in 78 at the Birmingham odeon supporting sabbath great night but I thought they were better than sabbath RIP to a true genius

    • Armand Beniamino says:

      I saw the same tour at Madison Square Garden in 78. Had never heard of Van Halen and when they took the stage it was like “What the hell is this?!” Eddies guitar pyrotechnics were so amazing , fresh and on fire with techniques unheard of , plus Lee Roth was howling and jumping six feet in the air .They blew the roof off the place.
      Afterwards when Sabbath came on it was pretty sad.

  8. MARK LEVY says:

    And Johnny Nash straight after that.

  9. Mark W says:

    Eddie Van Halen was one of my favorite guitarists of all time. After reading Geoff Barton’s review of their first album in Sounds (remember music papers?) I bought it on the day of release and was not disappointed. Saw them at the Colston Hall (Bristol) a few weeks later as support to Black Sabbath, and to this day, that was one of the best concerts I have ever been to. The DLR era was the best for me, although 5150 was good. Even the reunion album ‘A Different Kind of Truth’ from 2012 was a great return to form.
    RIP Eddie, you will be missed.

    • Murray Robbins says:

      Hi Mark
      I was at that show too and Van Halen certainly looked fitter and leaner than Sabbath who were in turmoil and had run their course at that point sadly. Good that they came back refreshed and stronger.
      My friend Si and I waited outside the rear load in/out doors for countless bands for countless bands to the point that those exits are seared onto my DNA. We both got out LP sleeves for Van Halen signed.
      The PR stasi were in a hurry and I remember Eddie or maybe DLR shouting “hang on with me brother” as Simon was dragged down the corridor as he was getting his sleeve signed.
      Sadly, despite the fact DLR shouted something along the lines of “Bristol, you’re the rock and roll capital of the world…see you next year” that was never to be.
      Sabbath had given VH a tiny strip of stage to play their short but totally exhilirating set and one wondered how Sabbath ight have felt having such a lean and hungry contender preceding them each night but I think there was a lot of love between the camps.
      As you rightly say it was an incredibly exciting show and what a shame it ended so soon for Eddie.
      Sad day for rock and I feel a little older!

      • Mark W- says:

        Hi Murray,

        Yes, VH didn’t get much of the stage! Although Sabbath were on the wane a bit, they made up for it for me as they played all my favorite songs!

  10. Richard John says:

    Very sad news. Off to listen to “Eruption” and “Beat It” now.

  11. johneffay says:

    In 1978, I went to see Black Sabbath at the Hammersmith Odeon and the support band was some bunch of Americans nobody had heard of. Van Halen were off the scale. When they played ‘Eruption’ and Eddie ground his his guitar against the amps into a howl of feedback, then left it leaning there to be handed a second guitar and continue playing, it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.

    I went to Hammersmith scores of times, but Van Halen were the only support band I ever saw there who had the entire audience on their feet.

  12. Dave says:

    Such sad news ! Van halens debut album still one of the best ever ! Eddie thank you my friend . Rip ok .

  13. CJL says:

    Very sad news. A true guitar hero. Saw VH at Leicester DeMontfort Hall in June 1980 & it’s still one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. I don’t think they could’ve crammed any more gear onto the stage! Massive PA, massive light-rig (they even had six follow-spots in the rig above the stage) & the tunes weren’t too shabby either. Lol. Wore my ‘1980 Invasion’ tour t-shirt ‘til it fell to pieces. RIP Eddie.

  14. GTR says:

    A wonderful player. Always seemed to have that big goofy grin. A reminder that music and life should be fun.

  15. Ben Williams says:

    Such a sad loss to the world of rock. RIP Eddie – will be playing his albums loud today.
    Van Halen II was one of the first CDs I ever bought.

  16. Tim-Meh says:

    The love was pinging around last night. Quite incredible how many people I know got into VH as one of their first bands. I remember wanting to go to Donington in ‘84 so badly mainly to see VH sandwiched between Ozzy and AC/DC. Shame the UK never got to see the DLR era of the band again. Eddie and Randy Rhodes, the dudes who modernised metal in the late 70s/80s.

  17. Beechlander says:

    My son plays guitar and was recently learning tapping techniques via youtube – EVH was the one he was most impressed by. Incredible guitarist. His name will live on.

  18. Russell Emberson says:

    One of my first gigs Van Halen at the Rainbow 1980, Great memories, RIP

  19. WILLIAM ENGLAND says:

    …and Johnny Nash (1940-2020)

  20. Joe Embleton says:

    Devastating

  21. John Orr says:

    Yep, part of my youth also, back in the 80’s. This decade has been appalling for the amount of musicians lost. And alot of them never saw old age.

  22. Trash says:

    Apparently Johnny Nash has died as well.

    RIP Eddie and Johnny!

  23. Mike M says:

    One of my first musical heroes, guitar legend. RIP xx

  24. Vladi says:

    Expectable, but still very, very sad! And radio stations will keep going on playing JUMP. On and on and on and on… This song is immortal!

  25. Tim Abbott says:

    Genuinely surprised to learn how much success Van Halen had in the US. Far as most Brits are concerned, he’s the bloke that played on Beat It, then did Jump, and that’s it. But it seems they’ve had a long career – I had a listen to some songs but nothing seemed as good as Jump, so don’t think I’m missing much. Still, sad times for the fans.

    • Jarmo Keranen says:

      Van Halen’s first record from 1978 is classic from first second to last. Compared to it Jump is just ordinary pop song. If you wanna hear a young man in his prime just listen the first record. Only good thing in this is that Eddie don’t have to feel the pain no more!

    • Jabber says:

      You had Boy George, we had Van Halen. (smile)

      • shane says:

        VAN HALEN fan by far, but I’m objective enough to admit BG has a great voice. First really appreciated him on a cover of My Sweet Lord that was on the NME Roaring Forty compilation “Ruby Trax”, stellar

    • Erik says:

      What I find interesting is there longest stretch of consistent #1 albums in the US were during the Hagar years. I personally preferred them with Sammy as I thought he has a better “Rock voice” and DLR always came across as kind of a tool to me (never met the guy so can’t say for sure, and he did seem to mellow a lot later in life) so I know I liked the Hagar songs better. But as is often the case, what is the most popular/brings the biggest sales at the time is not what someone is remembered for later (see Bowie’s mid-late 80’s output in comparison to every other time of his career).

      Also make mention as to what a good pianist/keyboardist EVH was, too. And what a lucky day it was for us all when he and Alex decided to trade the drums and guitar.

    • Davd R says:

      There is the irony, he’s better known in the UK for a song he played synthesiser on more, rather than guitar. But the guy was an absolute genius. Having met him, a very humble individual too. He revolutionised guitar playing. Granted, VH may not be to some observers tastes – we are all individuals after all – but as a hard rock fan speaking, that first incarnation of the band was up there on a level few other bands could ever get to. RIP Eddie.

  26. Ernest Kovacs says:

    Another tough one. Van Halen was the first of many musical obsessions of mine. To this day, Eddie’s guitar playing retains so much playfulness, energy, and personality. Always worth revisiting.

    Also R.I.P. Johnny Nash. Yes, “I Can See Clearly Now” is great, but he was much more than that. A versatile pop-soul-reggae artist with a sweet voice.

    Please stop, 2020. Seriously.

  27. Musicmacca says:

    Respect to Hendrix, Clapton, Page et all but this guy’s Technical ability went to another level. RIP Eddie

    • Harcourt Fenton Mudd says:

      Yes, indeed,

      A guitar tutor friend of mine was asked by a student “who s the better guitarist? Tom de longe or Eddie van Halen?’

      He have a good answer, “you can play pretty much all TDL plays after not playing the guitar very long, but you could play for 20 years and not play anywhere near the level of EVHl.”

      Good answer.

      I also also have another musician friend who would cross paths with VH in the early days in LA and they said that VH were “not part of the scene” but their effort and sincerity and sheer effort endeared them and made them stand out from the crowd.

      My favourite song…one of the great riffing slow ones… Running with the Devil.

      • shane says:

        what a way to open an LP. Running with the Devil!!!

        sadly, another great guitarist who’s no longer with us and criminally overlooked is prince. just look at the George Harrison tribute that’s lflaoting around youtube, and his version of Motherless child (again, you tube)

        But we’re here to talk about Eddie Van Halen.
        even non-fans I know are pulling out the hits (streaming) and talking about how good he was.

  28. eric says:

    As a teen of the late 70s and 80s, his sound was everywhere on the radio. Saw them several times and had the pleasure of meeting him during the Hagar years. The years have just gone roaring by taking our idols with them.

  29. Bob McCartney says:

    I’m Heartbroken. Prayers for the family and the fans. Starting in 1980 @ the tender age of 16, saw them 17 times along the way. With Dave, Sammy, Gary, then Sammy again then Dave again.
    Eddie was the constant and probably the best player on the planet.
    He will be greatly missed.

  30. Karl says:

    Rip Eddie, one of the greats of all time.

  31. Mike R says:

    I can’t keep from tearing up just thinking about it. An unforgiving year that won’t end. Some would argue Hendrix or SRV maybe, but EVH was the best I myself ever saw live. It was the soundtrack of growing up.

  32. Wax Monster X says:

    Back in their heyday I never paid attention. David Lee Roth was kind of a goon. It was the music all the other high school burnouts listened to and I was an ex prog and current punk. No way was Diamond Dave gonna appeal to me when John Lydon and Joe Strummer had so much more to say. And then sometime in my 40s it clicked. “Jesus Christ this band is fucking hot. The drummer is amazing and Eddie is a wizard. The tunes are filled with razor sharp hooks and I can even tolerate the goon.” Went on a VH spree and never looked back. I missed a lot of teen years avoiding this great band, but did find them in the end. Glad I did. Thus is a sad day as EVH seemed like a genuinely good guy. The world is short one more great guitarist. In a year when there are so many evil people I would like to see leave this earth, it’s a shame Eddie had to go.

  33. joel ivins says:

    great guitarist and such a character…totally a part of my childhood and initial video watching

    • Ryk says:

      I had just read about ACDC releasing a new single (which premieres on YouTube in an hour) and a November release album this morning and thinking it was time for the comeback of some hard rock artists like them and Van Halen, then only an hour or so later this news comes in. Eddie joins the ranks of the great musical artists we have lost over the past few years.

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