Eddie Van Halen was born in 1955 in Amsterdam, real name, Edward Lodewijk van Halen. The family moved to USA when Eddie was seven years old and settled in Pasadena, California.
Eddie Van Halen’s parents were musical and Eddie learned to play the piano at an early age. However, he later learned the guitar becoming influenced by Cream and the guitar, playing of Eric Clapton.
His first band called Mammoth, was formed in 1972 in Pasadena later changing the name to Van Halen because another local band was also called Mammoth. It included Eddie Van Halen on vocals and lead guitar, and his brother Alex on drums.
The band first met David Lee Roth when they rented a PA system from him and later invited Roth to join as a singer, partly to save the money he was charging for the rental of the PA.
Eddie Van Halen developed a superfast and aggressive guitar style, this coupled with stage jumps, and acrobatics made him a compelling guitarist to both watch and listen to.
Gene Simmonds of Kiss saw the band perform in 1976 and financed the first Van Halen demo tape. Van Halen went on to release their first album “Van Halen” in 1978 after winning a recording deal with Warner Bros.
Van Halen recorded six albums between 1978 and 1984, including the hit single “Jump” released in 1984. During this time, Eddie Van Halen also played on the Michael Jackson song “Beat It” after being invited by Quincy Jones.
The band went through subsequent changes after 1985 – featuring Sammy Hagar fronting the band until 1996, then a brief period with Gary Cherone as singer, the return of Sammy Hagar and finally the return of David Lee Roth in 2007.
Unfortunately, Eddie Van Halen has suffered with health issues gained from stage acrobatics and problems with drug and alcohol abuse and has spent time in rehab so a promised reunion tour with David Lee Roth has never materialised.
Eddie Van Halen’s guitar style is fast and uses tapping – technique that involves playing the strings with both left and right hand on the neck.
His energetic stage act and high octane playing has led to him being honoured in Guitar Hero 2 , where a player receives an” Eddie van Halen” for picking 500 notes in succession.