Guitar Legend Eddie Van Halen Dead at 65

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Sad news today. Guitar rock legend Eddie Van Halen lost a long battle with cancer at age 65. As lead guitarist for Van Halen, he was a virtuoso “whose blinding speed, control and innovation propelled his band into one of hard rock’s biggest groups and became elevated to the status of rock god.” 

(From the Associated Press)

A person close to Van Halen’s family confirmed the rocker died Tuesday due to cancer. The person was not authorized to publicly release details in advance of an official announcement.

“He was the best father I could ask for,” Van Halen’s son Wolfgang wrote in a social media post. “Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.”

Van Halen is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time, and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.

With his distinct solos, Eddie Van Halen fueled the ultimate California party band and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s with his band’s self-titled debut album and then with the blockbuster record “1984,” which contains the classics “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher.”

Van Halen also played guitar on one of the biggest singles of the 1980s: Jackson’s “Beat It.” His solo lasted all of 20 seconds and took only a half an hour to record. He did it as a favor to producer Quincy Jones, while the rest of his Van Halen bandmates were out of town.

Van Halen received no compensation or credit for the work, even though he rearranged the section he played on. “It was 20 minutes of my life. I didn’t want anything for doing that,” he told Billboard in 2015. “I literally thought to myself, ‘Who is possibly going to know if I play on this kid’s record?’”

I went searching for singing show covers of Van Halen tunes, and came up empty handed. Maybe they refused to clear songs for talent shows. But the band did record a popular cover of The Kinks 1964 hit, “You Really Got Me.” Enjoy American Idol season 6 contestant, Sanjaya Malakar performing the song, alongside the “crying girl.”

Van Halen – You Really Got Me (Official Music Video)

11 Iconic Eddie Van Halen Guitar Moments

Van Halen – Hot For Teacher (Official Music Video)

Van Halen – Jump (Official Music Video)


About mj santilli 33697 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!


  1. Very sad unexpected news…sent me down a rabbit hole of his rock music today, and reading the tributes from all over. ?

    It’s hard to imagine the Idol House Band or any reality singing show doing justice to a Van Halen Rock track in 90 seconds… the opening guitar sequence alone could take that long, if they even had a rock guitarist on the payroll! But the Alumni who has a long track record with Van Halen is David Cook singing rock in concert, post Idol.

    In 2009, David C did a “ Hot For Teacher” cover 22 different times over the year long Declaration Tour…Crazy good vocals, I was at some of those shows – Neal Tiemann was his lead guitar player then, and he had the chops to burn it down! Then, on tour in 2015, David did a cover of “Panama” at the famous Troubadour in LA, with special guest ex-band member Devin Bronson invited on stage to play the lead guitar, and during his 2018 tour with the wrist in a sling, David covered Van Halen’s “Right Now” at four of the venues. So all told, 27 different times David covered Van Halen’s music in the last 11 years. (all on youtube – I can bring links)

    This is not counting in 2009, when David and Carrie Underwood were supposed to sing “Why Can’t This Be Love” together when he was a guest on Carrie’s Holiday Special. More Van Hagar than Van Halen, the duet never got beyond rehearsals because the show’s producer neglected to get proper clearance – so the duet did not happen. Too bad – “We sound really good together, point blank,” Carrie said of the rehearsals.

    Sympathies to the Van Halen family, friends and fans; we keep losing legends. Maybe there will be some more artists covering the music now…which would be very cool, if it is well done. ???

  2. Eddie Van Halen owned that guitar and was one of the best. “Jump” was one of the coolest songs to dance and rock to. RIP and sympathy to his family.

  3. David told a story when he sang Right Now that he loved Crystal Pepsi and Right Now was the song on the commercial . While at a Wisconsin Walmart on the road , he bought the Crystal Pepsi reboot and said it tasted gross

  4. Another Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rocker legend gone too soon. Like other legends, their music went to the top to the itunes charts upon death. There is playing the guitar and there is playing the guitar. Eddie Van Halen was one of the greatest. Very sad.

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