It is impossible to discuss the hard rock music genre of the 1970s and 1980s without mentioning Van Halen and its founder Eddie Van Halen. The American musician was also a music producer and songwriter. Here is a brief history of one of the greatest guitarists in rock history.
Eddie was born Edward Lodewijk Van Halen on January 26, 1955, in Amsterdam, Netherland. He moved with his family to the United States in 1962. They settled in Pasadena, California, where Eddie and his older brother took classical piano lessons. Against his parents’ wish for him and his brother to become classical pianists, Eddie moved into rock music.
Eddie Van Halen’s musical career started when he formed a band with his brother in 1972. Two years later, the band was named Van Halen and welcomed vocalist David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony. It didn’t take much longer after that for the band to become popular in the Los Angeles rock scene.
Van Halen’s major success came in 1977 when Gene Simmons discovered the band and financed their first recording session. It didn’t take long for Warner Records to come calling, and the band signed a recording contract that same year. The Van Halen band released its self-titled ‘Van Halen’ album in 1978.
The success of the Van Halen album is mostly credited to Eddie’s electric guitar riffs and Roth’s tong-in-cheek antics. It reached platinum status in just six months of release.
The success of the first album propelled the band massively. They finally achieved superstar status when they released the album 1984, which went five-times platinum in just one year.
Like all bands, Van Halen experienced ups and downs, but Eddie Van Halen was always there. He engaged in a few projects outside the band, including solo works. He did some works with his brother and collaborated with several other musicians, including Michael Jackson, Black Sabbath, Brian May, LL Cool J, and several others. He had several endorsement deals, also.
Eddie Van Halen married actress Valerie Bertinelli in 1981, and they had a son, Wolfgang, in 1991. Bertinelli filed for divorce in 2005, and it was finalized in 2017. It has been verified that Eddie Van Halen struggled with alcoholism and drug abuse for most parts of his career.
Eddie Van Halen died on October 6, 2020, following a long battle with cancer.