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Eddie Van Halen facts for kids

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Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen.jpg
Eddie Van Halen in 2015
Background information
Birth name Edward Lodewijk van Halen
Born (1955-01-26)January 26, 1955
Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
Died October 6, 2020(2020-10-06) (aged 65)
Santa Monica, California, United States
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • producer
  • arranger
Years active 1972–2020
Musical career
Origin Pasadena, California, U.S.
Instruments Guitar
Associated acts
Children Wolfgang Van Halen
  • Jan van Halen (father)
  • Eugenia van Halen (mother)
Relatives Alex Van Halen (brother)

Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020) was a Dutch-born American guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter and producer. He is most famous as the guitarist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen. He is listed as number 70 in Rolling Stone Magazine's "Top 100 Guitarists of All Time" issue.

Eddie was born in Nijmegen, Netherlands and moved with his family to Pasadena, California in 1962.

Eddie started classical piano training, and won many talent shows as a child. In an ironic twist of fate, Eddie's brother Alex Van Halen started taking guitar lessons and Eddie bought a drum kit. While Eddie was delivering newspapers to pay for his drum kit, Alex would play it. They soon switched instruments permanently.

In 1974 the brothers along with David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony became known as Van Halen. They were signed to Warner Brothers in 1977 and released their self titled debut album on February 8, 1978. Multiplatinum sales and world tours followed. Van Halen's unusual and unique techniques influenced a generation of guitarists. His motto was "if it sounds good, play it", and his graceful melodies soon propelled him to guitar god status.

Van Halen also played an important role in getting R&B videos played on then rock-dominated MTV. He was called in to lay down a guitar track for the song Beat It from Michael Jackson's breakthrough 1982 album, "Thriller". The combination of Quincy Jones' production and Eddie's guitar work broke new ground, and created a new musical trend.

Van Halen has done soundtrack work for movies such as Back To The Future and Wild Life, and has recorded with Brian May, Jeff Pocaro, and Thomas Dolby. He built his trademark red and white striped guitar (originally black and white) by hand, using an imperfect body and neck picked up at a discount. He created and promoted a new signature guitar made by Peavey Guitars in the 1990s.

The 1990s proved to be a rough time for Van Halen. He lost his mother to cancer, was treated for cancer himself, had hip surgery done, and his band went through their third lead singer.

Van Halen married actress Valerie Bertinelli in 1981, whom he divorced in 2007.

Van Halen's only son, Wolfgang Van Halen, was born on March 16, 1991. He is named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and nicknamed "Wolfie".

In 2007 Eddie Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Van Halen died on October 6, 2020 from throat cancer at the age of 65.

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