Legendary rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen dead at 65

David Blais

Asst. Sports Editor

Photo by NPR.org

This past Tuesday, the world lost one of the most iconic rock guitarists to ever live in Eddie Van Halen. Born on January 26, 1955 in Amsterdam, Netherlands was Eddie Lodewijk van Halen. His parents were father Jan van Halen and mother Eugenia née van Beers. His father Jan had a musical background being a jazz pianist, clarinet, and saxophonist. When Eddie was seven, his family decided to move to Pasadena, California for a better life. Eddie learned piano at a young age and won an annual piano contest held at Long Beach City College every year from 1964-1967. Jan wanted him and his brother, Alex Van Halen to become classical musicians but the boys went another route and decided to form their own rock band in the fourth grade.


In 1974, the first incarnation of Van Halen was created while Eddie was 19 with his brother. They became the main staple of the Los Angeles music scene and earned a recording contract with Warner Brothers in 1977. The band released it’s self-titled debut “Van Halen” in 1978 and was greeted with commercial and critical acclaim being deemed as both hard rock and heavy metal. The band would release four more albums before releasing their best album in 1984 titled “1984.” On this album included the band’s most well-known song “Jump” which was the band’s first and last number one hit and even earned them a Grammy nomination. The band would win their only Grammy in 1992 for their album “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” in the “Best Hard Rock with Vocals'' category. In 2007, the band would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Eddie is considered one of the greatest guitarists and musical influences of all time and even changed the music world with his own custom guitar, the Frakenstrat. The guitar consisted of a cheap body and neck with custom modifications to sound and look like a Fender Stratacaster but for a discounted price. A replica of the guitar is on display in the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. as part of the Smithsonian Institution.


Unfortunately, Eddie was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014 due to a life of drinking and smoking since age 12. He remained to keep this private and his condition would worsen over the past five years. Eddie would lose the battle to throat cancer but he went down putting up a fight. Eddie Van Halen and his music will go down in history as some of the greatest of all time. His influence is felt by every rockstar in the world today and will continue to influence future generations to come. Eddie Van Halen was survived by his wife Janie Liszewski, his son Wolfgang Van Halen, and brother Alex Van Halen. Eddie was 65 years old.



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