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Eddie Van Halen left us but his legacy will live on forever.
NEWF - 10.10.2020 -
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Of course there are the hits and the millions of albums sold. Of course there's the solo from Michael Jackson's 'Beat It' and 'Jump' which invaded soccer stadiums. Of course there are the tours and their excesses, alcohol, drugs, ransacked hotels and backstage girls. Of course there are the whims, anger and ego conflicts that stopped a career that could have shone much longer. Of course there are the albums that will stay in history ("Van Halen I", "1984") and the (almost) complete failures ("Van Halen III"). Of course there is the crazy rhythm section (brother Alex Van Halen on drums and Michael Anthony on bass) and the excellent singers (David Lee Roth then Sammy Hagar) without whom Van Halen would never have been the band it was (let's modestly forget the Gary Cherone episode).

But Van Halen was mostly fun and rock and roll. And it was Eddie, above all...

Let's remember for a moment the blast that all guitarists felt in 1978, when Van Halen's very first album was released. Nobody had ever heard that before. Hard rock already had its guitar heroes. Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore had already made a big contribution to the six-string movement, which was draining a whole youth in need of decibels. Within a few years, punk in general and the Sex Pistols in particular had claimed that you didn't have to know how to play to rock. The crooks. Eddie was going to show them that one could be rock and fun while working his instrument like a relentless.

No, in 1978, no one had ever heard this way of playing, this level of saturation, this incredible rhythmic placement. Teenagers all over the world listened to 'Eruption' over and over again, without understanding what was happening to them. In the space of one minute and 42 seconds, Eddie fliped the hearts and brains of guitarists around the world who immediately made him their model and main inspiration, and took all the guitar apprentices in his whirlwind who exclaimed: "this is what I want to do! ». In one minute and 42 seconds, Eddie became part of history, forever.

Eddie was a sound-seeker, a guitar explorer, a passionate artist to the point of obsession with his instrument and the infinite musical possibilities it offers. Certainly he did not invent tapping. Some jazzmen had already been using it for a long time and, in progressive rock, Steve Hackett had already been using this technique since 1971 and the title 'The Return Of The Giant Hogweed' on the album 'Nursery Crime'. But at this level of saturation, with the mastery and control of sound that it requires, no one before Eddie had ever explored all the possibilities. 'Eruption' really changed the face of rock forever and continued for decades to inspire musicians of all styles, right down to Daft Punk and its 'Aerodynamic'.

Eddie was a craftsman, always tinkering with an amp or modifying a guitar. He was the first to popularize dual-wound pickups (the famous humbuckers) on Stratocaster shaped guitars. At the time, humbuckers, it was Gibson. Fender, Charvel and Music Man soon collaborated with him to develop new instruments that today have become the standard. He was the first to popularize the floating vibrato (the famous Floyd Rose). All the generations of shredders that followed had these vibratos installed on their guitars. He was the first to popularize the phaser and flanger, the modulation effects responsible for the famous Van Halen sound, that organic sound that takes over the whole space and takes you to the guts, as on the track 'Unchained'.

And Eddie was also a riff machine, an exceptional composer obsessed with groove and efficiency. Because apart from his outstanding technique, Van Halen's success is also based on the accessibility of the tracks, on short, fun tracks with punchy riffs and short and incisive solos. No need to list them here, you know them all. And if you don't, you can find reviews of all Van Halen albums on Music Waves. Even on the band's least known albums, even on the least successful ones, Eddie's style remains unique and immediately recognizable. That's what makes him one of the greatest.

Yes Eddie has forever changed the history of rock and the way electric guitar is played. It's almost a commonplace to say it. If Van Halen is the symbol of US hard rock of the eighties, the influence of guitarist Eddie Van Halen goes far beyond a single decade. He will simply remain as one of the most influential and respected guitarists in the history of the guitar.

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(3) COMMENT(S)  
Très bel édito : la disparition d'Eddie m'attriste surtout parce que j'espérais un successeur au Different kind of truth qui m'avait réconcilié avec"l'esprit VH" qui s'était un peu fait la malle depuis l'ère Hagar ! Je faisais écouter Eruption à un jeune de 25 ans: il n'avait jamais entendu parler de ce titre et trouvait ça un peu trop !!! C'est là que j'ai compris à quel point Eddie allait me manquer, et surtout à quel point il allait manquer au monde de la musique...mon pseudo est mon hommage, merci pour tout Eddie,on ne t'oubliera pas....
Sa mort m'a secoué mais ton bel hommage m'a tiré des larmes. Merci Newf
Je pensais tout savoir d'Eddie Van Halen, eh bien j'en ai encore appris.. Merci Newf :)
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