RIP Edward Lodewijk “Eddie” Van Halen (1955-2020)

Rick Beato is devastated

Just the day before, he’d released this video about what the solo in Stairway To Heaven would have sounded like if played/improvised not by Jimmy Page, but by one of several other guitar legends, including Eddie Van Halen.

Many people do not realize Eddie’s first instrument was the piano — he even won some high school-level classical competition. When he picked up the guitar, he ended up trying to translate some of his keyboard finger techniques to the fretboard —- as such, he did not so much invent two-handed tapping as popularize it and become its best-known exponent. (A decade earlier, Steve Hackett had applied two-handed tapping to great effect on Gabriel-era Genesis songs like The Return Of The Giant Hogweed and Dancing With The Moonlit Knight.)

Eddie’s keyboard skills are of course on evidence in the brash synthesizer parts of Van Halen’s blockbuster hit “Jump”. Here is another song that brings out both Eddie’s chops on both axes, as well as the sunny side of the band’s musical personality. Rest In Peace, Eddie.

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