Yesterday, the music world was stunned and crushed to learn that Eddie Van Halen, lead guitarist for seminal hard rock act Van Halen and one of the fathers of heavy metal guitar, had passed away at the age of 65. In response, musicians from all across the worlds of rock and metal paid homage to the fallen legend via social media. But today, three musicians whose connections to Eddie were especially powerful posted tributes to Eddie — Van Halen vocalists David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, and founding bassist Michael Anthony.
David Lee Roth, “Diamond” Dave to his mom, tweeted the following picture of him alongside Eddie, with the caption, “What a Long Great Trip It’s Been…”
What a Long Great Trip It’s Been.. pic.twitter.com/M5pmkVi7hW
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) October 7, 2020
Sammy Hagar also posted a picture of him chilling with Eddie, with the caption, “Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family.”
Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family. pic.twitter.com/MQMueMF2XO
— Sammy Hagar (@sammyhagar) October 6, 2020
Founding Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, who was replaced by Eddie’s son Wolfgang in 2006, posted the following with a similar caption: “No words…Heartbroken, my love to the family.”
View this post on Instagram
It was Wolfgang Van Halen who announced his father’s death last night, posting the following message via his Instagram:
“I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning.
“He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.
“My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss.
“I love you so much, Pop.”
To say that there would be no heavy metal without Van Halen, and specifically without Eddie’s playing, is a gross understatement. His style of playing, specifically the use of his ‘tapping’ guitar method that was coined on the band’s track “Eruption,” were second only to the riffs of Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi in how much they helped define the style and approach of heavy metal guitar. Guitarists like Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell were massive fans of Van Halen’s virtuosic playing; in fact, immediately before his own murder, Dimebag and his brother Vinnie Paul said, “Van Halen” to one another, a mantra that had come to represent music for them.
Everyone at The Pit sends their heart out to all of Eddie’s friends, family, fans and collaborators during this difficult time. Read our full tribute post here.
Words by Chris Krovatin