Eddie Van Halen: The Legendary Guitarist and Founder of Van Halen
Find out the life and legacy of Eddie Van Halen, the founder of the hard rock band Van Halen and voted #1 on Guitar World’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists.
Eddie Van Halen: The Rockstar Who Ruled the Guitar World
Edward Van Halen was a true rockstar – a musician, songwriter, inventor, and producer who founded the legendary hard rock band, Van Halen. Along with his drummer brother Alex Van Halen, singer David Lee Roth, and bassist Michael Anthony, he was the band’s lead songwriter and the driving force behind their success.
It’s no surprise that Eddie was featured in Guitar World magazine’s list of The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, and even less surprising that he was voted number one by the fans. With his American-Dutch heritage and unparalleled talent, Eddie Van Halen was a true icon of the music world.
Sadly, Eddie passed away in October 2020 at the age of 65 after a battle with throat cancer. He had previously been diagnosed with tongue cancer in 2000, but he never let his health struggles dampen his passion for music.
Let’s take a moment to remember Eddie’s incredible talent and his lasting impact on the world of rock and roll. And if you need a little pick-me-up, just watch this gif of him jumping – it’s sure to put a smile on your face.
What was His Early Life Like?
Eddie Van Halen was born in Amsterdam to music-loving parents. His father was a pianist, saxophonist, and clarinetist. In 1962, his family moved to the US and settled in Pasadena, California. He initially played the piano and even joined numerous piano competitions.
After seeing a performance of The Surfaris, he decided to switch to playing the electric guitar, and as a teenager, he would spend hours practicing his craft. It was also during this time that Eddie expressed his desire to become a professional musician.
When they formed the band, Van Halen, Eddie was able to sign with a few notable record labels, including Interscope and Warner Bros.
This interview with Joe Rogan includes more details about the start of Van Halen.
How old was Eddie Van Halen?
Eddie Van Halen was 65 years old at his time of death. He died as a result of a stroke. He was born on January 26, 1955.
Which guitar technique was Eddie Van Halen innovator of?
Eddie Van Halen is the innovator of the Frankenstrat, a hybrid black-and-white guitar. He used a combination of a Gibson and a Fender to produce this hybrid. Also, he was compelled to innovate to produce the distinct sound that he wanted and needed.
What nationality was Eddie Van Halen?
Eddie Van Halen was of American nationality and Dutch descent.
What was Eddie Van Halen’s net worth?
At his time of death, Eddie Van Halen had an estimated net worth of $100 Million.
What was Eddie Van Halen most famous for?
Eddie Van Halen was most famous for his guitar skills. His hard rock band dominated the music scene from the 1960s to the 1970s. Their most famous song, Jump, is still a sure-fire way to get an 80s party, err, jumping!
Was Eddie Van Halen married or single when he died?
Eddie Van Halen’s last marriage was to Janie Liszewski from 2009 to 2020. An ex-stuntwoman saw in films such as Mulholland Drive, Along Came Polly, and Spiderman 2, Janie is now the owner of High Profile Media, a PR agency where she works as a publicist for others.
He was previously married to Valerie Bertinelli from 1981 to their split in 2001 and divorce in 2007. Their marriage ended amicably and they remained friends, able to co-parent their son, Wolfgang. She even attended the wedding of Janie and Eddie six years later after the split. Presumably, they only bothered to get the divorce because Eddie had met Janie and things were moving in a serious direction.
The two had met backstage when Valerie attended a concert in Louisiana in 1980 and she was swept off her feet by his gentle manners but while she kept her 9 to 5 working week, she would then burn the candle to nothing by trying to keep up with the band’s cocaine sessions over the weekend. Unsurprisingly, the lifestyle took its toll.
Valerie was interviewed with Oprah, no less, and admitted to knowing of multiple counts of adultery on his end and one on her own which indicated an earlier failure in their 20/26-year marriage. She said eventually it was the desire to not be demonstrating such a poor romantic relationship for their son that prompted the split.
“One of the many reasons that Ed and I split up is to give Wolfie a better vision of what two people who are supposedly in love treat each other like. Ed and I weren’t treating each other like two people that loved each other, and that’s what Wolfie was seeing,” Valerie says. “So I’m hoping that when he does get married and start a life for himself, that he takes his time and marries a friend and not just someone that he can’t keep his hands off.”
Does Eddie Van Halen have children?
Yes. He has one son named Wolfgang Van Halen, born in 1991 in Santa Monica California. 29-year-old Wolfie broke the news to Eddie’s fans on social media saying, “I can’t believe I’m having to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long and arduous battle with cancer this morning,” he wrote. “He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift. I love you so much, Pop. My heart is broken (sic) and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss.”
Wolfie joined the band as bassist in 2006. You can find out all about Wolfgang’s early steps onto the stage at just 16 years old in this video:
What guitar did Eddie Van Halen use?
Eddie used a Frankenstrat, which he actually invented.
Which is Van Halen’s most famous song?
The song “Jump” has been visualized an incredible 138 million times!