The legendary guitarist would have turned 68 today, so an Eddie Van Halen birthday tribute is in order, I believe.
If you’re a fan of rock of any type or stripe, you at the very least have an appreciation for the work of Eddie Van Halen. And at the most, he and Van Halen might be the main reason you love rock. Van Halen was–and continues to be–an entry point into the world of rock for so many of us. They’re one of the greatest rock bands of the last 50 years, and he’s one of the greatest rock guitarists of all-time.
I’m not trying to be morbid here, but I can’t think of Eddie Van Halen without thinking of his passing on October 6, 2020. Here’s what I wrote at the time: “2020. The worst year, for so many reasons. And as if it couldn’t get any worse, Eddie Van Halen has died at the age of 65 after a battle with cancer.” 2020 feels both like 3 and 30 years ago now, in 2023. But the sting of losing EVH still feels fresh.
An Eddie Van Halen Birthday Tribute
In that vein, I feel like the best way to pay tribute is to flash back to your tributes. When the news broke about Eddie Van Halen’s passing, I was just finishing my 11a-4p show. I stayed on the air until 8:30p, taking your calls and playing wall-to-wall Van Halen. Here are some highlights:
Then-ROCK 92.9 Program Director Ken West joined me live in studio to talk about seeing Van Halen in 1982 for his second-ever live concert, back when he was only 13 years old.
Finally, my friend–and Eddie Van Halen superfan–the guitarist Bill Bracken shared his feelings on the news from the heart.
Thanks for listening. Keep scrolling for our ranking of what we feel are the Top 30 Van Halen songs of all-time.