RIP Eddie Van Halen, the GOAT

One of the first pieces of music I learned when I started playing guitar.

My mind is blank and in a daze….☹️

Although it’s long been rumored that he had health problems, it’s still a shock that Eddie Van Halen has departed this earth.

Eruption is one of the first things I learned to play on guitar when I was a kid and it pretty much laid the foundation for everything I’m able to do today. Fast alternate picking, legato playing, pinch harmonics – these are all the tools I have in my arsenal of guitar techniques thanks to Eddie.

It’s been said that if you can master Eruption by Van Halen, then you can pretty much play anything on the guitar. And you know what – they’re right!

What is rarely mentioned is that EVH was the embodiment of the American Dream.

Eddie immigrated to the U.S. from the Netherlands at 7 years old, speaking no English and of mixed ethnic background (Dutch on his father’s side and Dutch-Indonesian on his mother’s side). In addition to seeking greater economic opportunities abroad, one of the reasons why the Van Halens left Holland for America in the first place was because of the racism his Dutch-Indonesian mother had to endure during the 1960s.

Alex Van Halen, Jan Van Halen, Eugenia Van Halen and Eddie Van Halen

Within about 16 years after arriving in America, Eddie had a debut album (Van Halen) and was touring stadiums in America and around the world.

I can safely say that this would not have been possible in any other country other than the U.S. The U.S. is a country that rewards talent and Eddie had it in spades. And I say this as a Canadian!

In terms of historical stature, I would say that Eddie’s second only to Jimi Hendrix in terms of influence among guitar players. Pretty much every aspiring guitarist ripped off Eddie when he first came onto the scene.

I originally posted this video last year, but I’m re-posting this as a tribute to my fallen hero. Godspeed Eddie – you were the GOAT.