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Sammy Hagar And Michael Anthony Share Video Reflecting On Eddie Van Halen’s Passing

The reality of Eddie Van Halen’s passing is still reeling in the minds of his legions of fans, with tributes, recollections and memories flooding social media. And today, his former band members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony shared an emotional “We Love You Eddie” video, taped following a rehearsal for Hagar’s upcoming annual birthday bash.

“We’ll never play with Eddie. But thank God for this,” Hagar said, referring to the music the late guitarist created over a 40-year career. “The music will live forever.”  Fighting back his emotions, bassist Anthony added “it’s very surreal right now and it hasn’t sunk in.”

Both Hagar and Anthony still perform together in Sammy Hagar and the Circle, running through classic rock standards and tunes from Hagar’s catalog, including Montrose, his solo career and, of course, Van Halen favorites.

Van Halen’s passing is “like getting hit by a Mack truck, Hagar said, with Anthony reinforcing the sentiment. “We have the music. We love you Eddie.”

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Hagar’s birthday celebration typically occurs at his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and is always a fun-filled, loose party for fans, with guest rockers sitting in with his band. This year’s show was announced prior to Van Halen’s passing as a pay-per-view event in partnership with nugs.tv. It will take place on Catalina Island, southwest of Los Angeles, with social distancing rules enforced.

Van Halen’s passing makes the upcoming October 17 event “very bittersweet,” Anthony said. Hagar noted how difficult it was rehearsing their classic 1991 hit “Right Now,” with its lyrical emphasis on living in the moment. “I’m kinda devastated… A Van Halen song never felt so hard to sing and play in my life.”

The two-and-a-half-minute video clip ends with footage of the band, which includes guitarist Vic Johnson and drummer Jason Bonham, holding a moment of silence before launching into “Right Now.”

Alex Van Halen also shared a toddler picture of the two brothers and a short post today that simply said, “Hey Ed. Love you. See you on the other side. Your brother, Al.”



Guitarist Eddie Van Halen Dies Aged 65

Eddie Van Halen, main songwriter, guitarist and founding member of his namesake band Van Halen, has died after a lengthy battle with throat cancer. His son, Wolfgang Van Halen, confirmed today on Twitter. He was 65 years old.

Edward Van Halen was born on January 26, 1955, in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and moved with his family to California in the early 1960s. While growing up in Pasadena, Eddie and his brother, Alex, took classical piano lessons. By the time he was a teenager, he was proving to be an exceptional musician and had switched to guitar, Alex to drums.

The brothers formed Van Halen in 1974 with vocalist David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony. Within just a few years, the band became wildly influential on the Los Angeles scene, in large part due to Eddie’s signature guitar sound.

In 1977, Kiss bassist Gene Simmons discovered them at a local club and footed the bill for their first recording session. Subsequently, Van Halen signed with Warner Bros. In 1978 the band released its eponymous debut album, featuring the smash hit “Runnin’ With The Devil.”

Van Halen followed with a prolific string of multi-platinum albums: 1979’s Van Halen II, 1980’s Women and Children First, 1981’s Fair Warning and 1982’s Diver Down. And in 1984, the band’s career catapulted into the stratosphere with 1984, which included “Jump,” “Hot for Teacher,” and “Jump,” MTV running a constant loop of the three videos.

Roth left the band in 1985 after recording his own solo album and was replaced with Sammy Hagar. Van Halen continued on in their success and put out several albums with Hagar as frontman. By the mid-90s, Eddie and Hagar clashed as Van Halen was sober and the new frontman was unapologetically not. Hagar recorded his last album with Van Halen in 1995. In 2004, he returned for a greatest hits release and tour.

Following Hagar’s departure, Roth also returned for a Van Halen reunion. After recording two songs and making an MTV Music Awards appearance, he left again and was then replaced by Gary Cherone of Extreme. In 2012, Roth was back again, and the band released A Different Kind of Truth, their first record with Roth since 1984. In May 2015, Van Halen opened the Billboard Music Awards with Roth, performing their classic “Panama.”

Van Halen was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Rest in peace, guitar god and groundbreaker.

*Feature image: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images



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