Eddie Van Halen Thought Jimmy Page Was a ‘Very Sloppy’ Guitarist

Eddie Van Halen: Ross Marino/GettyJimmy Page: Michael Putland/Getty Images
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It’s hard to argue against the fact that Eddie Van Halen was one of the greatest to ever pick up a guitar. Period.

The man was a legend that revolutionized the scope of what could be achieved on a 6-stringed guitar.

So when you’re that good, it’s understandable that you can speak your mind freely about your own playing and the playing of your musical peers, right?

Eddie sure thought so. Never one to hold back his thoughts, he went on record many times criticizing his own music.

Case in point, Eddie never actually wanted to record one of his most iconic solos, ‘Eruption.’ And when he did, he was not pleased with the results:

“I didn’t even play it right, There’s a mistake at the top end of it. To this day, whenever I hear it, I think ‘Man I could have played it better.”

And sometimes, Van Halen directed his critiques outwards as well. One of his most notable ‘slags‘ was directed at Led Zeppelin legend Jimmy Page. While he had positive things to say about Jimmy’s ability as a producer, Eddie had some harsh words for his guitar-playing abilities in a live environment:

“Jimmy Page is an excellent producer. Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin II are classics. As a player, he’s very good in the studio.

But I never saw him play well live. He’s very sloppy. He plays like he’s got a broken hand and he’s two years old. But if you put out a good album and play like a two-year-old live. What’s the purpose?”

For his part, Page never held a grudge against Eddie. In fact, they’d go on to become friends. And Jimmy clearly respected the hell out of him, as evident by the short eulogy he posted to his Instagram upon learning of Eddie’s death in 2020:

“It is with great sadness that I heard the passing of Eddie Van Halen. ⁣He was the real deal: he pioneered a dazzling technique on guitar with taste and panache that I felt always placed him above his imitators. ⁣It was good to see him featured at the Met’s Play It Loud Exhibition.⁣ R. I. P. Eddie⁣.”

Long live Eddie’s honesty, and his otherworldly guitar skills. Rest in power, 6 String God.

Eddie Van Halen Never Wanted to Record Eruption