Eddie Van Halen was celebrated and remembered by music titans at this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony. Some of the biggest names in music honored the iconic rocker’s life and indelible legacy during Saturday’s special event.
The annual ceremony included a special tribute to Van Halen during its “In Memoriam” segment, which celebrated the groundbreaking musician’s “unique” talent and singular musical vision.
The tribute featured messages of love, reverence and appreciation from Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, and Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, who called Van Halen a “tremendously gifted musician.”
“His style and his sound were completely unique to him. He had a massive impact on guitar playing,” Slash shared during the heartfelt salute. “I don’t think there’s anybody who’s picked up guitar since 1978 that hasn’t been touched in some way by Eddie Van Halen’s influence.”
“I’m gonna miss his playing, and I’m going to miss him as a friend,” Slash added.
“Not since Jimi Hendrix had there been a guitar player that had so much impact and was so inspiring to me,” Hammett shared. “He just explored the most simplest thing: a harmonic on a string and brought it into this realm of technique that no one even thought was possible.”
Hammett added that Van Halen was “amazing” and said it felt as if he was “from a different planet.”
Meanwhile, Morello said Van Halen was “the Mozart of our generation.”
“He had the kind of talent that maybe comes around once a century,” Morello marveled. “Eddie Van Halen inspired me to practice 20,000 hours to try to get within 100 miles of his inspired mastery of the electric guitar.”
The segment also included several montages of Van Halen’s incredible talent and performances. It concluded with a touching throwback interview with the musician from his younger years, in which he talked about how he planned to never stop rocking.
“If I hit 80, if I make it that far, I’ll still be doing the same thing,” Van Halen said in the clip. “I might not be jumping, I might be sitting on a stool, but I’ll still be making music!”
Van Halen died on Oct. 6, after a long battle with cancer. He was 65.
Following his death, there was a massive outpouring of condolences, tributes and memories from his friends, and the many, many artists who had been influenced and inspired by his music.
Check out the video below to see more on the tributes and memorials that celebrated Van Halen’s remarkable impact on rock.
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