Eddie Van Halen Dead At 65

Eddie Van Halen, considered by many to be the most influential guitarist of his generation, has died at the age of 65.

His son made the announcement today via Twitter:

While Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020) is best known as a guitarist and songwriter, he grew up with a classical piano training and composed many of his songs at the keyboard.

And, ironically, his most iconic riff is the synth hook on Jump, from the 1984 album, 1984.

His bandmates were originally skeptical of Eddie Van Halen’s interest in incorporating keyboards into the band’s sound, but Jump went on to become Van Halen’s biggest hit, spending 21 weeks on the Billboard charts and peaking at #1.

The riff was originally played on an Oberheim OB-X or OB-Xa, but Eddie Van Halen owned a wide range of synths and used them on many tracks.

Here’s his synth track 1984, the intro on the album to Jump:

11 thoughts on “Eddie Van Halen Dead At 65

  1. RIP Eddie….I’ll here your riffs forever!!!

    My wife met you guys in Thousand Oaks Ca back in the early eighties…. you guys tipped her well….she was the one who got your shoes for you!!

    My wife wishes you a hug and a big prayer…Rock On Eddie!!

    Your music with Van Halen brought my wife and I much pleasure….

  2. I was literally thinking about him last week… a couple of songs from 1984 popped into my head… so thankful his music was am important part of my life… “I’ll Wait”, “Girl Gone Bad”, and later on, “5150”… such amazing songs. When I was “younger” (heh) a friend and I stole a 1984 tape _cassette_ from a local k-mart (omg yes, shoplifted – sorry, we were only 12 or 13) and we played it on every sleepover we ever had – oh man, playing “original” Nintendo games and listening to VH 1984. Such good times – or as David Lee Roth said it… Damn Good Times.

  3. Back in the day, I was a big fan of Kansas and Rush. I never was a Van Halen fan but knew many people who were. I thought, yeah Eddie can play fast riffs and was very gifted, but the music itself was structurally simplistic. Just about every Van Halen bass line is comprised of little more than 8th note playing on the root of the chord, with very rudimentary chord progressions and changes. Sorry, but that’s how they seemed to me back in the day and still do. However, judging by the album sales, millions of people didn’t care about my opinion and still don’t.

    It’s not often that we see an innovator like Eddie Van Halen. Contrary to what many people believe, Eddie Van Halen was not the inventor of the guitar tapping / hammer-on technique (for example, you can see and hear Steve Hackett using this technique with Genesis in the early 70s). Eddie Van Halen did, however, take it to new heights unlike any of his predecessors. Like the many young, beginning drummers who admired Neil Peart, many guitarists were inspired by Eddie Van Halen. Innovators who change the course of music history and steer it in a new direction (e.g. Beethoven, Kraftwerk, etc) are few and far between. There is no doubt that Eddie Van Halen greatly influenced the path of rock guitar playing, like no one since Hendrix.

    I remember when the 1984 album was released at midnight on January 1, 1984. I recall that there was some controversy among fans about Van Halen using synths. Judging by the fact that Jump was there only no. 1 song, and judging by the fact that you will see a “Jump” patch as a factory preset on synths, Van Halen using synths appears to have been a good idea, at least from a commercial perspective.

    It’s sad that rockers have been been passing away in droves the last few years. When Chris Squire passed away in 2015, it was like he started a domino effect. Chris Squire, John Wetton, and Neil Peart all passed away at 67. That doesn’t seem too old to those of us who listened to their music and remember them in their respective heydays.

    Rest in peace Eddie. Your legacy will not be forgotten.

  4. A friendly reminder that you can make an awesome music video on a plain black background, as long as your band is oozing personality.

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