Eddie Van Halen was a Dutch-American guitarist, songwriter, keyboardist, producer, and inventor who had a net worth of $100 million at the time of his death in 2020. He was best known as the founder—with brother/drummer Alex Van Halen, of the American hard rock band Van Halen. He was generally recognized as one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. Many music publications have referred to him as THE GREATEST of all time. Van Halen formed in 1972 and would go on to sell more than 56 million albums worldwide with several lead singers, notably David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar. Unfortunately Eddie Van Halen died on October 6, 2020 at the age of 65 from cancer.
Early Life: Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was born on January 26, 1955, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He is the son of Jan and Eugenia van Halen. He has an older brother, Alex. In early 1962, the Van Halen family moved to Pasadena, California. Eddie and Alex learned to play the piano as kids. Eddie Van Halen does not read music. He learned from watching and listening. Eddie switched instruments and began learning how to play the guitar. Eddie and Alex formed their first band, The Broken Combs, with three other boys, when Eddie was in the fourth grade.
Career: In 1972, Eddie and Alex Van Halen formed the band Mammoth. They changed the band’s name to Van Halen in 1974 since there was already a Los Angeles area band named Mammoth. Van Halen became a mainstay of the music scene in Los Angeles in the mid-1970s. They played well-known clubs like the Whisky a Go-Go. Warner Bros. offered Van Halen a recording contract in 1977. The band’s debut album, “Van Halen” (1978) became one of the most successful debut albums in rock history. Just a few years later, Van Halen was the most successful rock band of all time. Van Halen released “Van Halen II” in 1979 and “Fair Warning” in 1981. The band’s fourth album, “Diver Down,” was released in 1982 and spent 65 weeks on the charts in the United States. Their next album, “1984” went five-times platinum within a year of its released and spawned a number one hit with the lead single, “Jump.” “5150” was released in 1986 and “OU812” in 1988.
1991’s “For Unlawful Carnal Knowlege” earned the band the 1992 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. In January 2007, Van Halen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Van Halen has released a total of 12 studio albums and their albums “5150,” “OU812,” “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge,” and 1995’s “Balance” all reached number one on the Billboard 200 chart.
Eddie was ranked #1 in a Guitar World magazine reader’s poll of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time in 2012.
Eddie has played guitar on several movie soundtracks including “Back To The Future,” “Over The Top,” “Twister,” and “Lethal Weapon 4.”
Beat It: One of Eddie’s most famous contributions to popular music wasn’t even with Van Halen. He also played guitar on Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” In 1982 Eddie received a call from producer Quincy Jones asking if he would play guitar on a new Michael Jackson song. According to legend, Eddie thought it was a prank call at first. He was also very skeptical that Michael’s R&B audience would care for his hard rock guitar work. At that point Eddie remembered Michael mainly as the child singer of “A-B-C”.
Eddie arrived at the studio with nothing prepared and asked to improvise after hearing the rest of the tune. It took him 20 minutes to come up with the final riff. He also ended up rearranging the middle portion of the song. He was concerned Michael would be infuriated by the rearrangement, fortunately MJ was over the moon with the end result. Eddie was in the studio for less than an hour.
Eddie performed the work for free. He is not credited on the song and did not receive any of the song’s profit points. Over the decades those points would have generated tens of millions in royalties.
Personal Life: Eddie Van Halen met actress Valerie Bertinelli in 1980 in Shreveport, Louisiana at a Van Halen concert. They married in 1981 and had their son Wolfgang in 1991. In 2001, they separated. They divorced in 2007.
Eddie’s acrobatic moves on stage caused him to have a number of injuries. In 1999, he had hip replacement surgery. The following year, he underwent treatment for tongue cancer that removed about a third of his tongue.
Over the years, Eddie Van Halen has struggled with drugs and alcohol. He started drinking and smoking when he was 12. He became such an alcoholic that he started to need alcohol to function. He went to rehab in 2007 and has been sober since 2008.
In 2007, Janie Liszewski, a former actress and stuntwoman became Van Halen’s publicist. She and Eddie started dating and he proposed in 2008. They married in June 2009. Alex Van Halen officiated the wedding, Wolfgang Van Halen was his best man, and his ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli was in attendance.
In June 2020, Sammy Hagar shared a video of the Van Halen song “Right Now,” because he realized the lyrics from the song off “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” predicted things happening today more than 30 years ago. The lyrics of “Right Now” appear to refer to the protests against racism and police brutality as well as other social issues. The thing is, the song was also reflecting on social issues of the early 1990s too. Hagar said: “When I wrote this song with Eddie Van Halen over 30 years ago I had no idea it would be so relevant today. #LetTheMusicDoTheTalking #StopTheViolence #GivePeaceAChance.”
Eddie’s son with Valerie Bertinelli, Wolfgang, who goes by Wolf, is a member of Van Halen.
Health Problems: In August 2012, Van Halen underwent emergency surgery for a severe bout of diverticulitis.
Both Eddie and his brother, Alex, are naturalized U.S. citizens.
In late 2019, it was revealed that Eddie was once again battling tongue cancer and had been for the past five years. He was hospitalized in November 2019 with complications from cancer treatments. Eddie Van Halen had been undergoing treatment for throat cancer since about 2015.
In January 2020, David Lee Roth told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Eddie was not doing well. He said: “Ed’s not doing well, and singing and dancing is a perishable skill. If you have the capacity, it’s something that has to be used routinely, if not for the thrill of it and the magic of creating with other incandescent spirits.” In September 2019, Roth also said: “I think Van Halen’s finished and this is the next phase. “And that being said, Eddie’s got his own story to tell. Not mine to tell it.”Eddie and his wife Janie are mourning the death of Janie’s younger brother Tom, who died of undisclosed causes in June 2020.
Unfortunately Eddie died on October 6, 2020 at the age of 65.
Real Estate: For much of his adult life, Eddie lived in Los Angeles where he owned several homes. Eddie van Halen owned a 10,000-square-foot home in the Coldwater Canyon neighborhood of Los Angeles since the early 1980s. Called the 5150 Estate, it is where he built the detached 5150 Studio in which Van Halen has recorded every one of their albums since 1984.
|Net Worth:||$100 Million|
|Date of Birth:||Jan 26, 1955 – Oct 6, 2020 (65 years old)|
|Height:||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Profession:||Musician, Songwriter, Guitarist, Keyboard Player, Record producer, Author, Bassist, Drummer|
|Nationality:||United States of America|