I still can’t believe it. And it breaks my heart into a million pieces to write this. But rock legend Eddie Van Halen died yesterday from cancer. He was 65 years old. Why must 2020 take legends from us? Kobe Bryant died at the beginning of the year, and now Eddie near the end of it. I really don’t know how much more of this I can take…
But while I mourn his death with the rest of the world, I also want to remember him as he was to me: An insanely cool, happy piece of my childhood introduced to me by my father. I can’t remember the exact moment I was introduced to Eddie’s musical genius by my dad. But that’s only because he’s been such a part of my life when it comes to music, having fun and happy memories, that I have never known life without him in it. I guess I was spoiled for almost 30 years huh?
When I think of Eddie, so many things come to mind, such as his frenetic pace on the guitar, always smiling and having fun performing, being able to recognize his unique sound instantly as a fan, and frequently thinking, “How in the hell did he do THAT?!” when it came to many of his virtuosic solos. God blesses many people in spades when it comes to talent or gifts. Not Eddie Van Halen. God blessed that man with a sheer TIDAL WAVE of talent! We were all just speechless, awestruck fans left in the wake of a Category 5 heavy metal hurricane! Take a listen to one of my favorite solos of his:
I apologize for all the shattered windows, noise violations, and melted faces that caused 😉
All jokes aside though, Eddie was (and always is) absolutely AWESOME! I firmly believe God sends musicians like Eddie Van Halen, Michael Jackson, Prince, Whitney Houston, Elvis, and others to not only entertain us, but to also reach a deeper part of our hearts and souls with their music or dancing. Something that cannot be entirely put into words, and can only be truly felt with the soul, at the core of our humanity. I don’t know what that “thing” is. But I do know Eddie reached it with his music and touched millions (if not billions) of people!
I also remember and celebrate Eddie because he showed me what REAL music is. It’s not the autotuned, edited, sanitized, same-y stuff today’s kids listen to. Eddie’s music and his legacy that we all get to enjoy, are the fruits of a truly hardworking musician’s labor. So many great songs and solos came from him just sitting down, and practicing, tinkering, writing, and working for hours on end! Sure, when he got huge he eventually had record producers, agents and all the stuff that comes with being a worldwide rock star. But before that, he would just constantly work, practice and perfect his craft. And I think that’s where the core of his brilliance came from, no matter what stage of his career he was in. There doesn’t seem to be many musicians like that in today’s world. And if they’re out there, they’re not getting the exposure they deserve.
I’m trying to keep this post mostly positive and celebrate Eddie’s life. But it still stings to know that not only is Eddie gone, but so is Van Halen as we know it. The chances of the band ever even being Van Halen again went with him. I’ll never get to see them on tour like I wanted, and they will never sound the same, even if for some reason Dave, Alex and Wolfie decided to keep going with a different guitar player. Van Halen just isn’t Van Halen without Eddie. Ever.
Van Halen: 1972-2020. That was one hell of a run! Nearly 50 years of kickass music! But it’s still incredibly sad to me, because it feels like part of me died inside. Part of my childhood died. This loss truly hurts my heart. 😦
I know I’m about to use an overused cliche, but I feel it’s definitely true in this case: You don’t know what you have until it’s gone. But I definitely feel that void today, and will for a while until it’s fully sunk in that Eddie is gone. God always seems to take the best ones from us, the ones who have such a profound impact on so many people, FAR too soon. Eddie was one of them for sure. The world is darker, and certainly a lot quieter and less fun without him in it.
I have been praying for Eddie’s soul, and for God to bring comfort, strength and peace to his family and friends. Hopefully somewhere upstairs, he’s getting ready to play a golden guitar, and shake Heaven with an otherworldly solo that’s like nothing our human ears have ever heard!
Rest in Peace, Eddie. You are loved by the entire world, and your legacy is untouchable and will be preserved and enjoyed by many for generations to come!