Eddie Van Halen’s opinion on Jimmy Page
The Dutch guitarist Eddie Van Halen changed complety the course of Hard Rock music in the late 70s and 80s with his incredible technique that made Van Halen one of the most influential bands from that era.
Countless groups were inspired by the sound the band created and especially by the way that Eddie played the guitar. Even though the band had released only 12 studio albums, they are one of the best-selling groups of all time with an estimated amount of more than 80 million records sold worldwide.
Over the decades, Eddie talked about many of his peers and gave their opinion on them, including the legendary Led Zeppelin guitarist and producer Jimmy Page.
What was Eddie Van Halen’s opinion on Jimmy Page
Even though Van Halen released their debut album only in 1978, the group was formed five years earlier, in 1973, just a four years after Led Zeppelin released their first and groundbreaking album. Before having their own songs, the group used to play a lot of covers on the bar circuit and there were many Led Zeppelin tracks on the setlist. Some of them are “Hots On For Nowhere”, “The Rover” and “Trampled Underfoot”. Also after the mid-80s when Sammy Hagar became the band’s vocalist, they included many times the songs “Whole Lotta Love” and “Rock and Roll” during their concerts.
Eddie Van Halen was lucky enough to have seen Led Zeppelin performing live in concert in the early 70s in Los Angeles and it was when he saw Jimmy Page playing that he realized he could play the guitar in a different way. It was the light bulb moment that made him create and work on his tapping technique. Which was a crucial ability that made him the unique guitarist he became years later.
In 1993, he was invited for the induction of Jimmy Page into the Rock Walk of Fame. Eddie gave a speech and said that he was influenced by the British player, also calling him a legend (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage).
“I don’t think there is anybody here who has not been afected or touched by Jimmy Page’s music, his guitar playing. So the guy is a f*cking legend, you know. He influenced me and everybody that I know. What more can I say? Thank you for being here, I’m honored for being here, thank you.” Eddie Van Halen said.
Years before Eddie said that Page was sloppy playing live
Even though Jimmy Page was one of the most praised session guitarists in the 60s in the United Kindgom and later on produced all the Led Zeppelin albums, he never was really worried about playing every note perfectly during live performances. That made him being called a “sloppy” player live and Eddie Van Halen was one of the musicians that said that.
“Jimmy Page is an excellent producer. Led Zeppelin and Led Zeppelin II are classics. As a player, he’s very good in the studio. But I never saw him play well live. He’s very sloppy. He plays like he’s got a broken hand and he’s two years old. But if you put out a good album and play like a two-year-old live. What’s the purpose?” Eddie Van Halen told Guitar World magazine back in 1981.
The last time that David Coverdale saw Van Halen was with Jimmy Page
However, the two musicians had a good relationship and a huge respect for each other, having the opportunity to meet many times over the decades. The Whitesnake vocalist David Coverdale even recalled that the last time he saw Eddie was with Jimmy Page. The Dutch guitarist died in 2020 at the age of 65 and Coverdale recalled in an interview with Eon Music their last meeting that included the Led Zeppelin guitarist.
“Edward, the last time I saw him, I was sitting in my hotel suite in London with Jimmy (Page). It was like ten o’clock in the morning. We were just having a very elegant gentleman’s cup of tea. Tea pot and everything! (laughing). The door to my suite goes, and Michael McIntire, my co-producer who was working with us, he gets up and opens the door. His jaw hits the floor because he’s like a total Van Halen fan. Eddie (casually) goes; ‘is David in?’ (laughing hysterically).”
David Coverdale continued:
“I wasn’t under my own name! And Mikey walks in and he goes; (meekly) ‘Oh, it’s Van Halen’, and Edward just pushes past. I go; ‘Edward, how are you doing?’ And he goes; ‘alright, great to see you… Ah! Jimmy Page! Jimmy Page!’
“Well first off, he goes to my minibar immediately at ten o’clock in the morning and takes a fucking Heineken out. He’s at Jimmy’s feet, and he picks up my acoustic. He’s like; ‘how did you play this fucking thing?!’ (laughing). You know, it’s amazing; I had Eddie Van Halen and Jimmy Page sitting there. Eddie had a Heineken, and Jimmy and I had a cup of tea!” David Coverdale said.
Jimmy Page also admires Eddie Van Halen
The two musicians had a mutual respect for each other and Jimmy Page proved that in the tribute he posted on his social networks in 2020 after Eddie’s death. The guitarist said: “It is with great sadness that I heard the passing of Eddie Van Halen.”
“He was the real deal. He pioneered a dazzling technique on guitar with taste and panache that I felt always placed him above his imitators. It was good to see him featured at the Met’s Play It Loud Exhibition. R. I. P. Eddie”