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Guitarist Eddie Van Halen gave his name and amazing talent to a band that dominated the heavy metal scene (and the top 40 charts) in the 1970s and 80s.
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Eddie Van Halen (born January 26, 1955) formed the band Van Halen in 1974. His quick-fingered guitar riffs and singer David Lee Roth's onstage antics caught the eye of Kiss guitarist Gene Simmons in 1977. The band's sixth album, 1984, featured smas
Musician. Born Edward Van Halen on January 26, 1955 in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. While growing up in Pasadena, California, Eddie and his brother, Alex, took classical piano lessons. As teenagers, Eddie switched to guitar and Alex to drums, and they started a band called Mammoth. In 1974, they hooked up with vocalist David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony to form Van Halen. Within a few years, the band had become hugely popular in the Los Angeles rock scene.
The band got a break in 1977 when Kiss bassist Gene Simmons discovered them at a local club and financed their first recording session. Soon after, Van Halen signed with Warner Bros. In 1978, Van Halen put out its self-titled debut album, which featured the hit single "Runnin' With the Devil." The combination of Eddie Van Halen's electric guitar riffs and Roth's tongue-in-cheek antics launched the album to platinum status within six months of its release.
During the next few years, Van Halen became one of the hardest working and most profitable bands in the recording industry, releasing a string of multi-platinum albums in quick succession; 1979's Van Halen II, 1980's Women and Children First, 1981's Fair Warning and 1982's Diver Down. But true superstar status did not come until the release of 1984, which showcased the now classic mega-hits "Jump," "Panama" and "Hot For Teacher."
During this time, tension began to grow between Roth and the other band members. And in 1985, after recording his own successful solo album, Roth left the band to be replaced by former Montrose frontman Sammy Hagar. Showing a remarkable resiliency, Van Halen continued to put out several successful albums with Hagar as frontman, including 1986's 5150 and 1991's For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. In 1993, the band released its first double-live album, Van Halen Live: Right Here, Right Now.
By the mid-1990s, tension resurfaced, this time between the clean-and-sober Eddie and the unrepentant wild man Hagar. Hagar put out his last Van Halen record, Balance, in 1995. Shortly after Hagar's departure, Roth returned for a much-publicized Van Halen reunion. But after recording two songs for a greatest hits album and making an appearance with the band at the MTV Music Awards, Roth left again. This time, he was replaced by Gary Cherone, formerly of the heavy metal band Extreme. Cherone's debut with the band, Van Halen III, was released in 1998, but after slow sales he made his departure.
Eddie Van Halen married actress Valerie Bertinelli in 1981, and their son, Wolfgang, was born in 1990. The couple announced their separation in July 2002. In 2009, Van Halen married girlfriend of three years, Janie Liszewski.
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