Kicking The Darkness

Great Albums of My Lifetime

Eddie Van Halen

I was annoyed the first time I heard Van Halen way back in the late 1970s. Some fool put their first album on the turntable at the party I attended and then had the gall to make an utterly ridiculous statement. “This new guy is gonna take over the world man! He’s the best guitarist in history!”

My immediate response included a few expletives that I won’t repeat because I couldn’t believe anyone in their right mind would insult the likes of Hendrix, Page, Townshend, and Clapton by making such a bold statement about an unproven commodity.

And while the other attendees were blown away by the “brilliance” of Eruption...I thought it was all gimmick and flash. It wasn’t long after that when I saw images of the band on T.V. and it only confirmed my suspicions that they were all hair and no substance.

But in 1982 I happened to hear an instrumental song called Cathedral on the radio one night driving home from work, and I had goosebumps all over my body. And that song led into another song called Secrets that was just as melodic and beautiful. I went out the next day and bought my first Van Halen album Diver Down and played it every day for months.

When their album 1984 came out two years later, I was able to admit I was wrong about Eddie. By this time he had proven himself both as a multi-instrumentalist and accomplished songwriter and certainly wasn’t a flash in the pan. Eddie was the real deal.

So tonight I am raising a glass to Eddie Van Halen as I listen to about thirty years of his substantial contributions to songwriting and guitaring which added to the soundtrack of my life. And without hesitation, I salute him as one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. 

Well done Eddie. Rest in peace friend.