Eddie Van Halen: 10 cool things to know

Eddie Van Halen, hands playing a guitar

Rock music enthusiasts were recently deeply shocked and saddened to learn that former lead guitarist of the iconic group Van Halen passed away after an arduous battle with throat cancer. I know I’m speaking for many of my high school alumni when I say that news of  Eddie Van Halen’s death brought an immediate tear to my eye. Along with his brother Alex, David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, Van Halen shaped the rock music industry throughout the 1970s and 80s.

While Roth and Hagar did not share the stage as members of Van Halen, they seemed to have come and gone intermittently as the band worked through its many personality clashes and management disputes. The bottom line, however, is that no matter what type of music genre you prefer, there is absolutely no denying that Eddie Van Halen is one of the most skilled guitarists of all time. He was preceded in death by numerous other rock music stars, several of whom passed away in 2017 and were featured by another writer here at The Hot Mess Press.

Things you may not know about Eddie Van Halen

Giant guitar-shaped Hard Rock Cafe sign

Most Van Halen fans know that Eddie was once married to a popular actress of the same era, Valerie Bertinelli. She and Van Halen divorced not long before the band was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007. He married Janie Liszewski, a publicist, in 2009, and was still married to her at the time of his passing. Here are a few more things you might not know about former superstar Eddie Van Halen:

  • He wasn’t there the night the band accepted their induction into the Hall of Fame.
  • Eddie couldn’t read sheet music. He took piano lessons as a child but would “cheat” by memorizing his instructor’s finger positions on the keys.
  • Van Halen’s son Wolf was named after classical music Master, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • Eddie Van Halen and fellow band members made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. We’ll tell you how later on in this post!

For now, here are a few more surprising facts

Eddie Van Halen, rock concert with audience hands in the air

It’s fun to research your favorite celebrities. Doing so often reveals connections with other famous people you might not have known they had. For instance:

  • Rock band Kiss’s lead singer Gene Simmons wanted to endorse Van Halen before they became superstars. He produced a demo but his managers rejected it saying Van Halen has “no chance” of making it big.
  • Simmons even bought Van Halen band members new clothes to help boost their image.
  • Eddie Van Halen originally played drums while his brother Alex played guitar. Alex was always sneaking to use Eddie’s drums when he wasn’t home, so Eddie suggested they switch instruments, which ultimately led to him becoming one of the greatest guitar shredders of all time.
  • Eddie Van Halen is the guitar soloist on Michael Jackson’s famous “Beat It” track.
  • His famous black and gold guitar (from the cover of the Van Halen II album) was buried with Dimebag Darrell, another famous guitarist who was murdered by a crazed fan.
  • Finally, the reason Van Halen made it into the Guinness Book of World Records is that, at the time, they were paid $1.5 million for a 90-minute set, which set the record for highest-paid single performance of any rock band in history.

Millions of people in the United States and rock music fans all over the world are praying for Eddie Van Halen to rest in eternal peace.

What interesting facts and cherished memories would you like to share about the man who changed the rock music landscape forever?

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