Hail to the King (of Shred)

“Discussing Eddie Van Halen’s Death and His Legacy.”


Eddie van Halen Performing in AZ in 2015.

Guitar legend and Van Halen founder Edward “Eddie” van Halen passed away on the sixth of October after an arduous battle with cancer. 


The guitarist and inventor’s passing was confirmed by his son Wolfgang who played with his father in the band; the condition of his health was kept private and thus his death shocked the entire music industry and all of the fans he’d gained over the years. 


Van Halen was born on the 26th of January, 1955 in Amsterdam, and throughout the decades has made a name for himself as one of the greatest guitarists, if not the greatest guitarist of all time. Playing alongside his son Wolfgang and brother Alex, as well as vocalists David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, Eddie van Halen skyrocketed many of the bands albums to platinum status throughout the 70’s and 80’s with his innovative performance techniques and inventive ideas. 


Creating his own technically-customized Fender Stratocaster, “The Frankenstrat”, Van Halen distinguished himself heavily in the music industry. He popularized the guitar-tapping technique among fellow musicians and is generally regarded as having shown the most technical prowess in playing over any other mainstream guitarist (even though he couldn’t really read sheet music).


Van Halen acted as an inspiration for both future musicians and his peers alike. It’s not sure yet how the band itself will continue, though it’s most likely that it won’t survive without Eddie Van Halen himself as many fans would say that his playing is the true soul behind the band. 


Eddie Van Halen has been described as the ‘King of Shred’ and truthfully that title fits him well. Without his contributions to the music industry, and to his fans through his performances on songs like “Jamie’s Cryin’”, “And the Cradle Will Rock” and “Jump”, there’d definitely be a gaping hole in the hearts of many that no one else could fill. 


According to a recent Forbes article, the band’s sales have increased to upwards of 6,000% of what they were before Van Halen’s passing, showing a lasting sense of sympathy and interest from the general public in his music. 


On a final note, with Van Halen’s passing comes the dreaded thought that comes with the death of most musicians who were prominent in the 70’s and 80’s, that being the incoming end of what’s arguably music’s most influential era. Yet, it’s best to consider that while our favorite musicians from the Rock ‘n’ Roll age of music are passing left and right, they’re obviously still prevalent in our daily lives through different venues, from the radio to statues to t-shirts and everything in between. 


These musicians were innovators in their own right, with Eddie Van Halen in particular being one of the greatest and most influential. They strove to change the music industry then just as new artists, influenced by the music legends of the past, develop the music industry on a daily basis and thus our culture as a whole. 


Hopefully this Guitar God was able to bring his Stratocaster to the other side.