Last year saw Eddie Van Halen, pioneering guitarist and driving force behind legendary party rockers Van Halen, pass away at the age of 65. Not only was Eddie a cultural icon who taught a whole generation what it was to be cool, he was also one of the most important players of the electric guitar, inspiring millions of burgeoning musicians to pick up an ax and wail. Now, Eddie’s memory has been immortalized with a mural along one side of the flagship Guitar Center store.
As reported by MetalSucks, the massive memorial was unveiled yesterday for Eddie’s birthday, with renowned muralist Robert Vargas providing the artwork. Standing 17 feet tall and 105 feet long, the piece is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest musicians in rock history.
“Eddie was one of my creative heroes,” says Vargas. “When I was young, the debut Van Halen record was the first album I ever owned. He influenced me over the years in so many different ways. As soon as the news hit of his passing, I knew I had to do something creative to memorialize him, and Guitar Center was the obvious venue. Right here on the Sunset Strip, where the band made their bones – I can’t think of a better place for this tribute to him, and I thank Guitar Center for giving me the canvas to share it with the world.”
“Eddie Van Halen was a truly monumental force in rock music,” said Guitar Center category manager Jean-Claude Escudie. “He made lead guitar playing popular when it might have been slipping away into punk and new wave minimalist territory, and then basically the entire 80s hard rock scene followed in his wake. Guitar Center saw this first-hand, as generations of lead guitarists have flocked to our stores to try to capture something of what inspires them about Eddie’s sound. Besides that, sometimes people forget that he was an immigrant and multi-racial, so in so many ways his story is the story of the American experience.”
Check out the tribute below:
View this post on Instagram
The mural can be found at 7425 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90046.
Words by Chris Krovatin