A Legend Is Gone – Let Us Not Forget.
For me, music has played a significant role over many years but never more important than now. Sure, during the pandemic lockdown, Netflix and other televised content became a focal point, but listening to music, from classical to rock to reggae, has become a common denominator to maintaining some level of sanity during these crazy times of 2020. I have mentioned my brother in previous posts, who in my opinion, when very young, was way ahead of his time with music content. That small bedroom in our southwest Miami home was always filled with music blasting from his Marantz stereo with speakers that should have been placed in a ballroom, not a 10′ x 12′ bedroom. From Ravi Shankar to Ten Years After to Brothers Johnson, my exposure and enjoyment of different artists and their music has continued to present day.
The guitar has always been my favorite. From the twang of the slide guitar to the driving riffs of rock, there has always been something about the guitar that brings back memories and makes me smile. With the passing last week of guitar legend Eddie Van Halen, I have reflected back to the days of Woodstock, funk, and the legendary late 70’s and 80’s hair bands. Don’t get me wrong, I loved War, Keith Sweat, Michael Jackson and Prince, but rock has been and still is my go-to for most of my listening pleasure.
Speaking of Michael Jackson, all of us remember his massive selling album “Thriller” and the song “Beat It”. Per Michael’s request, famous music industry mogul Quincy Jones made a call to Eddie Van Halen asking him to add a guitar break to “Beat It”, resulting in rock history when Van Halen added 20 scorching seconds to the middle of the song. Due to the ask coming from of all people Quincy Jones, Van Halen worked for free and spent only an hour in studio producing a riff that to this day is legendary. A great quote from Van Halen regarding “Beat It”: After the record’s release, Van Halen would remember shopping in a Tower Records store while “Beat It” was playing on the sound system. “The solo comes on, and I hear these kids in front of me going, ‘Listen to this guy trying to sound like Eddie Van Halen,’” he said. “I tapped him on the shoulder and said, ‘That IS me!’ That was hilarious.”
“Beat It” is still played very often and I always like to challenge my music friends asking them who did the guitar break on the song. Most people never remembered or correlated Eddie Van Halen with Michael Jackson as the song “Beat It’ included one of the greatest riffs of all time. If you don’t want to watch this famous music video move to the 3:10 mark. RIP Eddie Van Halen.
That is my take on one of the greatest guitarists of all time. For another perspective watch and listen to the enjoyment from this young kid reacting to Eddie and his band Van Halen. Priceless.
Adios, pay it forward, stay safe and have a Funday Sunday!!