As many are waking up to the news that guitar legend Eddie Van Halen has passed away at the age of 65 due to complications from a long battle with cancer, the tributes are pouring in for the rock icon, and rightfully so.
This man changed the way guitarists approached their craft and influenced a generation of musicians, and as the world mourns his passing, we look back on some of the most iconic solo moments from the king of shred.
Van Halen – Jump
Let’s begin with a classic, shall we? The story behind this is legendary. Van Halen is not keen on the keyboard-heavy track, but Eddie sells it to them anyway, going on to construct one of his sexiest and succinct solos to date – and then following it up with an inspired keyboard solo that establishes him as the master of two instruments on one track. Subsequently, the band’s only #1 track.
Van Halen – Panama
Another one of Van Halen’s more popular tracks, Eddie Van Halen rips through his solo riff making it look effortless but high octane. There’s also an epic moment in the track featuring the rumble of Eddie’s car – a 1972 Lamborghini Miura S, which was reportedly parked in the studio for the recording.
Michael Jackson – Beat It
Lest we forget this little gem from the biggest-selling album of all time, Michael Jackson’s Thriller. This fire-starter was recorded in one take and given to Jackson for free. That’s right. For NADA.
Van Halen – Ain’t Talking About Love
This fan favourite sees Eddie deliver a ferocious solo, that was essentially deemed by the band as a bit of a punk rip off, but would ultimately end up influencing the same genre it parodied.
Van Halen – Eruption
Saving the best for last, this solo undoubtably revolutionised guitar playing going into the ’80s, courtesy of Eddie’s two-handed finger-rapping technique which had been used in solos before but never as slickly as Van Halen did it here.