'''Edward Lodewijk Van Halen''', generally known as Eddie Van Halen, (born January 26, 1955 in Nijmegen, Netherlands,) is a virtuoso guitarist, classically-trained pianist, and founding member of the hard rock band Van Halen. His family moved to Pasadena, California in 1962. Eddie started classical piano training, and won talent competitions as a child. Initially, Eddie's brother Alex Van Halen began playing guitar lessons, while Eddie played drums. While Eddie delivered newspapers to pay for his drum kit, Alex would play it. Alex eventually became much better at drums than Eddie, and they decided to switch instruments.
In the burgeoning Los Angeles rock scene of mid-1970s, Van Halen's band was called Rat Salade, after a song by Black Sabbath. David Lee Roth suggested calling the band Van Halen, after having been hired by the band as a vocalist to circumvent paying for the use of his P.A. system.
After unfulfilled promises by KISSs Gene Simmons to sign Van Halen, they signed with Warner Brothers in 1977, and then released their eponymous debut album on February 8, 1978. It was immediately recognized as a ground-breaking work. Van Halens innovative, home-spun techniques, and unparalleled rhythmic sensibility influenced generations of guitarists. Van Halen's mantra, "if it sounds good, it is good," renowned "brown sound," and graceful melodicism propelled him to guitar god status around the world. He is especially known for a technique that he popularised: finger tapping. In interviews, Van Halen has credited Jimmy Page's guitar solo from the song "Heartbreaker" (Led Zeppelin II) as the insiration for developing this techinque.
Van Halen albums such as Fair Warning and Diver Down displayed Eddie's prowess as a piano player, as well as a guitarist. Keyboards featured prominently on the landmark album 1984, arguably the defining rock and roll release of the 1980s. Edward Van Halen also played a role in getting R&B videos played on MTV. He was called in by Quincy Jones to play guitar on the song Beat It, from Michael Jacksons phenomenal 1982 album, "Thriller". The combination of Jacksons pop sensibilities, Quincy Jones sleek production, and Van Halens mind-blowing guitar work melded several genres of music, and helped each to find new fans.
Concurrently, Van Halen's song Jump was played in discos, inner-city R&B clubs, and on rock radio. Van Halen did soundtrack work for movies such as Back To The Future and Wild Life, and has recorded with Brian May, Jeff Porcaro, and Thomas Dolby. He built his trademark red and white striped "Frankenstrat" guitar, (it was 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. He left Peavey guitars in 2004, and began working with Charvel guitars. They introduced a signature guitar based on Eddie's original "Frankenstrat".
The 1990s and early-2000s proved to be a rough time for Van Halen. He battled alcoholism, lost his mother to cancer, was treated for tongue/mouth cancer, had hip replacement surgery, divorced Valerie Bertinelli, (whom he married in 1981,) as his band fired their third lead singer, Gary Cherone. Van Halen has one son, Wolfgang William Van Halen, born March 16, 1991. He was named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and nicknamed "Wolfie". Wolfie has played at some of his father's concerts in their 2004 reunion tour with Sammy Hagar. Eddie named his line of signature Peavey Guitars after his son, and is also sponsored by Peavey Electronics to use their 5150 Amplifiers, which he had a part in designing. Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen, Eddie