Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen
Founder of the the band Van Halen(1978-?). Eddie rewrote the book on guitar by utilizing his unique tapping, harmonics, and whammy bar use. They would go on to become one of the most famous bands of all time.
Eddie was born Edward Lodewijk Van Halen in Amsterdan, Netherlands on Jan. 26 1955. In 1962 His family moved to Pasadena, California. Eddie was 7. After moving Eddie began learning piano and had a natural flair for music. Winning several competitions, his parents sought a teacher for their prodigy. However, Eddie soon decided he would set aside the piano for a while and learn to play the drums. His brother, Alex would receive a guitar(ironic isn't it?). To pay for the drums Eddie worked a paper route and while he was out, Alex would practice Eddie's drumset. Eddie realized he was beat when he witnessed his brother play the drum solo in "Wipeout." Eddie began playing guitar and like the piano, a similar instrument, Eddie had a knack for the guitar. He and his brother soon switched instruments. He claimed many things, like that he liked to walk around the house with the guitar unplugged and just practice. He also stated he often skipped school in order to stay home and practice guitar all day. He also said once he learned all of Clapton's solo's by the age of 14, slightly changed however where he added his own style to the playing.
Tapping was actually first used most likely by Kiss, however they would just do one tap and go back to picking. Eddie was the first to popularize and use it in extended licks. He was watching a guitar video one day, and realized the unlimited possibilties if there were a nut you could move to different frets. He figured, why not use my left hand and pull off frets with my right hand. His practicing of this soon spawned into hammer on's and pull off's. He created some of the most unique, if not the most unique, licks ever played at the time. He had a technique all his own (later playing at live shows in the early days he said once he would turn around away from the audience to play the licks with taps so no one would steal his idea).
Eddie's first band was called Mammoth. At first it consisted of Eddie, bassist Mark Stone, and Eddie's brother Alex. Eddie did vocals, however this held him back on guitar because as many of us know it isn't easy to shred and sing at the same time. They had no P.A. system so they rented one from David Lee Roth for $50 a night. David Lee Roth had auditioned for the band but failed, however the band later decided they could save money and Eddie could focus on guitar by letting Roth join. This would become one of the smartest decisions the band would make. Soon after Roth's admition bassist Michael Anthony would replace Mark Stone making the quartet that would record the band's first demo.
David Lee Roth had the idea for the new name of Van Halen when another signed band named Mammoth threatened Eddie's band to change their name. On a show in 1977, Gene Simmons saw Van Halen playing a show and was blown away. Soon after, Van Halen released their first album with Warner Bros. in 1988. The album was entitled "Van Halen" and consisted of...
1.Runnin' With The Devil(3:35 min.) One of VH's first hits.
2.Eruption(1:42 min.) Instrumental guitar solo, recorded at Warner Bros. request. Known as the 2nd greatest guitar solo of all time.
3.You Really Got Me(2:37 min.) First hit, cover of the Kink's with Eddie's own style included.
4.Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love(3:49 min.)
5.I'm The One(3:46 min.)
6.Jamie's Cryin'(3:30 min.)
7.Little Dreamer(3:22 min.)
8. Ice Cream Man(3:19 min.)
9. On Fire(3 min.)
The band would go on cranking out an album a year, but none as successful until 1984 they made the album "1984". The album had the hit single "Jump" which quickly rose to #1 on the charts. This was the band's last album with Roth due to issues between Eddie and Roth, and new vocalist Sammy Hagar joined the crew. The band definitely took a new turn here and was often called "Van Hagar". Eddie's piano playing was used in many songs made with Sammy Hagar, and Van Halen showed a softer side.
Roth returned in 1996 and helped release a greatest hits album with three new singles included. Roth soon left due to old conflicts returning. Roth left and Van Halen vanished until 2004...
That's right, now Hagar returned in 2004 to start a new tour however it wasn't finished due to more conflicts in the band. Again, Van Halen needed singer.
Roth Comes Back (AGAIN!)
David Lee Roth returned in 2007 to announce a new tour. Tickets sold out within minutes the day the tour was announced. The band would replace Michael Anthony for the tour with Eddie's now 15 year old son Wolfgang on bass. Wolfgang claims that nothing Michael ever played was very complex. He is given the opportunity of choosing the songs that Van Halen would play on the tour (that is actually continuing today), and so far all is well.
Eddie would use a custom guitar he made himself and would later call the Franken-Strat due to it's odd appearance. It consists of a Boogie body, Charvel neck, and 1 50's Gibson PAF humbucker pickup in the bridge. Eddie claimed he couldn't find one pickup that would work with the humbucker.
Floyd Rose Tremolo
Yup, that's right. Eddie helped create the Floyd Rose Tremolo in fact. For those of you that don't know, the Floyd Rose unit allows maximum tremolo (whammy) bar use with no detuning due to it's double locking system. Eddie claimed he was undercredited with helping create the Floyd Rose and set off to make his own tremolo unit, however what he made was nowhere near the same. He called it the D-Tuna, because that's just what it did. He ended up sticking with the Floyd Rose (good choice Eddie).
Eddie uses strictly Marshall brand 5150 tube amps, which he has modified to get "The Brown Sound" which is his unique sound.
Van Halen-1978-Warner Bros.-10x platinum-Best selling VH Album.
Van Halen 2-1979-Warner Bros.-5x platinum-First top 20 single "Dance the Night Away"
Women and Children First-1980-Warn Bros.-3x platinum-First album with no cover songs.
Fair Warning-1981-Warner Bros.-2x platinum-Worst album with David Lee Roth, no singles.
Diver Down-1982-Warner Bros.-4x platinum-Breaks chain of downward sales, 5 cover songs.
1984-1984-Warner Bros.-10x platinum-2nd best selling album, hit single "Jump" stayed at #1 for 5 weeks, last album with David Lee Roth.
5150-1986-Warner Bros.-6x platinum-First to hit #1 on the Charts.
OU812-1988-Warner Bros.-4x platinum-Sounds like, "Oh, You Ate One Too."
For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge-1991-Warner Bros.-3x platinum-Grammy for "Best Hard Rock Performance".
Live: Right Here, Right Now-1993-Warner Bros.-2x platinum-First Live Album
Balance-1995-Warner Bros.-3x platinum-Least successful studio album with Hagar.
Best of Volume 1-1996-Warner Bros.-3x platinum-10 songs with Roth and 7 with Hagar.
Van Halen 3-1998-Warner Bros.-Gold-Singer was Gary Cherone, and Eddie on a few songs, first time he sang since Mammoth.
2004-2004-Warner Bros.-platinum-Compilation album, featured 20 songs with Hagar and 16 with Roth, included none from "Best Of Volume 1", Eddie played all but 3 basslines instead of Micheal Anthony, several new songs.