By | Been Written
Contributing Writer | Telegraph Local
Eddie Van Halen, the virtuoso guitarist whose innovative and blistering solos helped propel the band named after him into one of rock’s biggest acts in the 1980s, has died of cancer. He was 65 The Guardian reports.
Van Halen was best known for his distinctive solos. He started his self-titled band in the late 1970s with his band’s self-titled debut album, but it was the blockbuster record “1984,” which contains the classics “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher” that cemented Van Halen’s iconic status.
Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time, selling more than 56 million units, according to Business Insider, and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.
Born in Amsterdam, Van Halen moved to Pasadena, California, with his family in 1962. He and his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, took piano lessons and started making music together when they were 6. As they got older,they played gigs together around Los Angeles and eventually formed a band in the early 1970s.
As rock band Van Halen with singer David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony, they released their self-titled debut album in 1978. The album opened with a blistering “Runnin’ With the Devil” and showed off Eddie’s astonishing skills in the next song, “Eruption,” a furious 1:42-minute guitar solo that swoops and soars like a deranged bird. The album also contained a cover of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” and “Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love.”
Valerie Bertinelli, Eddie’s ex-wife and mother to his only child, Wolfgang, just posted a heartbreaking tribute to the rock star. She called him “my love” and gave thanks that she was there with him in his last moments.
Van Halen, who grew up idolizing Eric Clapton, pioneered his own dynamic style – often playing with both hands on the neck of the guitar – modeled by a generation of guitarists. “I do whatever I want,” he said in an interview with Guitar Player, in 1978. “I don’t really think about it too much … Everything is pretty spontaneous.”
He is survived by his second wife, Janie Liszewski, the band’s former publicist, whom he married in 2009, and Wolfgang.
Eddie Van Halen was something of a musical contradiction. He was an autodidact who could play almost any instrument, but he couldn’t read music.
Artists paying tribute include Gene Simmons, who said: “My heart is broken. Eddie was not only a Guitar God, but a genuinely beautiful soul”, while Simmons’s Kiss bandmate Paul Stanley said he was “a trailblazer and someone who always gave everything to his music. A good soul.”
Lenny Kravitz said “heaven will be electric tonight”, while John Mayer described Van Halen as “a stunningly good musician and composer. Looking up to him as a young kid was one of the driving forces in my needing to pick up a guitar. I was so blown away watching him exert such control and expression over his instrument.”
Funeral arrangements have not been announced yet.