Van Halen: Can’t Stop Lovin’ You

Van Halen was a rock band formed in Pasadena, California in 1972, and largely credited with “restoring hard rock to the forefront of the music scene.” But while the band is well known for their energetic rock shows, it’s best known for the legendary, masterful guitar work of founder and lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen (EVH). Van Halen consisted of EVH on lead guitar, brother Alex Van Halen on drums, vocalist David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony from 1974 until 1985.

Their music speaks very eloquently for itself. From their self-titled debut album in 1978, through their next few albums Van Halen II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning, Diver Down, and 1984 in 1984, the band rocked hard, and partied harder. By the mid 1980s, Van Halen was one of the most successful rock acts of the time.

In 1985, Roth left the band to embark on a solo career and was replaced by former Montrose lead vocalist Sammy Hagar. Their next four albums, 5150 in 1986, OU812 in 1988, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge in 1991, and Balance in 1995 would all hit #1, and reach platinum status.

Never one to follow the crowd, Eddie once said “To hell with the rules. If it sounds right, then it is.”

But a change was again, about to come, and Hagar left the band in 1996, just before the release of their first Greatest Hits album, Best of, Vol.1. The band quickly replaced Hagar withformer Extreme frontman Gary Cherone, and recorded the commercially unsuccessful album Van Halen III in 1998, before parting ways in 1999. Van Halen then went on hiatus until reuniting with Hagar in 2003 for a worldwide tour in 2004 and the double-disc greatest hits collection The Best of Both Worlds. Hagar again left Van Halen in 2005. In 2006, Roth returned as lead vocalist and Anthony was replaced on bass guitar by Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s son. The band released an album in 2012 titled A Different Kind of Truth.

The band toured in later years, but not at the breakneck pace they had in the beginning. Illness crept in, slowing EVH down. Eddie was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2001, which affected his ability to perform to a degree, but never completely stopped him. That is, until October 6, 2020, when Eddie succumbed to this dreaded disease. To say he will be missed is a massive understatement.

The swift reaction from the music and entertainment world showed only how much of a huge impact Eddie had made on the world. “Heartbroken and speechless. My love to the family.” said Sammy Hagar. “Rest in peace guitar legend Eddie Van Halen. Broken heart We will miss you.” said Billy Idol on Twitter. “Crushed. So fucking crushed. RIP Eddie Van Halen. You changed our world. You were the Mozart of rock guitar. Travel safe rockstar.” said Nikki Sixx on Twitter. And a very heart wrenching Twitter post from son Wolf Van Halen, “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.” But the most poignant statement came from ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli. “I’m so grateful Wolfie and I were able to hold you in your last moments. I will see you in our next life,” she posted on her Instagram.

For me, another massive chunk of my young adulthood died. Eddie Van Halen was well-known as a guitar god, but he was so much more than that. He was such a huge inspiration to guitar players everywhere. The many tributes I’ve been reading since his passing are just heartbreaking. He truly influenced SO many guitar players. Most of all, he was a wonderful father to Wolfie. He leaves such a tremendous legacy. He will be missed, but his music and influence will live forever.

Tami Danielson is the main in-house blogger and Director of Operations for Pop-Daze. She was raised in California and Florida and currently resides in Oregon. Tami has written for a variety of periodicals and has provided digital marketing services for a number of artists. She can be reached at [email protected]