Eddie Van Halen- In Memory of a Guitar Legend- by Mark Kassa
Eddie Van Halen distinguished himself from the sea of guitarists with his iconic lead and rhythm guitar playing that was a combination of two handed tapping, pinch harmonics, tap harmonics, “the brown sound”, inventive chords , and innovative songwriting. Like most individuals that left their mark in history, he started from humble means. His family migrated here from the Netherlands. He built his “Frankenstein” guitar from spare parts and designed and painted it with his trademark stripes that have become recognized worldwide.
The early days of Van Halen featured songs like “Unchained”, “So This Is Love” “Mean Street”, “Atomic Punk”, “Little Guitars”, “Beautiful Girls”; and the “Eruption” guitar solo that left millions of guitarists worldwide trying to figure out what just hit them. He dropped one of his signature solos on Michael Jackson #39 “Beat It”. Later, he reinvented his style when Sammy Hagar joined the band and he continued with more hits and great solos in songs like “Best of Both Worlds”, “Right Now”, “Dreams”, and “Poundcake”. Ned Steinberger gave Eddie one of his Steinberger guitars with a transtrem and Eddie immediately wrote the song “Summer Nights” with it.
Musicians strive for a style that people can instantly recognize from hearing a few notes. It sets apart the best from the rest. Eddie was a legend. His playing was unique. It was as if he was dropped on an island and learned everything his way, without influence. Rest in peace Eddie, and thanks for all of the great music.
If you want to zero in further on his brilliance, go to Youtube and search “Eddie Van Halen isolated tracks”. Here are few of them:
Mean Street https://youtu.be/fOdcsR-D7w4
Hot For Teacher https://youtu.be/jM1-uAjPMCU
– Mark Kassa: SlightReturn.com