The Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards never hides his real opinion on other artists and already criticized many of his colleagues over the decades. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times back in 2020, in the month that Eddie Van Halen had died, he was asked if he recalled when Van Halen was Stones’ opening act in Florida back in 1981. The musician answered the question and also talked about Eddie’s guitar playing.
What guitarist Keith Richards said about Eddie Van Halen:
“I don’t remember a thing about Van Halen in those days. I appreciated the work later on and everything. But I’m not a virtuoso soloist. People that think the guitar player has to wail away somewhere on the top end — no.”
“I’m a guitarist. I play chords, I play rhythm. I use the guitar to project a song. I’ve never been out there, like, Wally’s Whistling Saw, and everybody’s supposed to be impressed. So I’m not impressed by that kind of guitar playing.”
“You want to listen to a guitar player, listen to [Andrés] Segovia, for Christ’s sake. Or Django Reinhardt. The rock players, they’re good and they’ve all got their little thing going. But it’s never been my bag.”
Eddie Van Halen played a Rolling Stones classic with Sheryl Crow
The legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen performed back in 1996 with the VH1 All Star Garage Band the Rolling Stones classic song “Bitch” from the 1971 album “Sticky Fingers”. He added a little bit of tapping during the guitar solo.
The VH1 group also had singer Sheryl Crow, Bryan Adams, Paul Shaffer, Steve Winwood, Don Henley, Melissa Etheridge, John Mellencamp, Max Weinberg and Richie Sambora. During the same show they also played Beatles “Get Back”, Eddie Cochran “C’Mon Everybody”, Them “Gloria”, Bobby Fuller “I Fought The Law” and Spencer Davis Group “Gimme Some Lovin'”.
Van Halen’s technique
Considered one of the best guitarists of all time, Eddie Van Halen was recalled for making the tapping solo technique popular in the late 70’s and early 80s. Which allowed his rapid arpeggios to be played with two hands on the fretboard.
Early in his career, Eddie played the drums and the keyboard and Alex played the guitar and studied the keyboard. Over time Alex got better than Eddie on drums, and Eddie started to train the guitar, overcoming him. He was on the 8th position on the list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine and 7th on the Gibson list of the 50 best guitarists of all time.
Eddie Van Halen was inducted as a member of Van Halen into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. But only singer Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony went to the ceremony.