One of the most influential guitarists of all time, Eddie Van Halen reinvented the way the guitar was played, especially for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal musicians. His style and technique became a huge influence to many musicians that would become successful in the 80s.
Even though he came up with a totally different sound and ability, he was influenced by many bands that came before and one of them was AC/DC. Over the decades the late musician talked about the Australian group and revealed some of his favorite tracks of them. Rock and Roll Garage selected two AC/DC song that Van Halen loved and what he said about them.
The 2 AC/DC songs that Eddie Van Halen loved
“Down The Payment Blues”
“Down The Payment Blues” was first released on AC/DC’s fifth studio album “Powerage” that is also Eddie’s favorite record of the Hard Rock group. As the AC/DC guitarist Angus Young recalled in an interview with Forbes back in 2020, when Van Halen toured with the band, Eddie Van Halen kept asking them to perform “Down The Payment Blues” every night. “I remember that time because Eddie liked hanging out with Mal and Brian and Cliff. They liked going out and having a drink in the bar and stuff.”
“But Malcolm used to say, ‘Eddie keeps going to me all the time, ‘You gonna do ‘Down Payment Blues’? He loved that song. In fact the last time I saw him was when we were touring. Brian said, ‘Come down to the shows.’ And that is the first thing he said, ‘You gotta do ‘Down Payment Blues?” He liked a lot of, ‘Riff Raff’ and tracks like that,” Angus Young said.
Talking with Billboard in in 2015, Eddie revealed which were some of his favorite guitar riffs of all time. He listed “Down The Payment Blues” as one of them, saying: “One of my all-time favorite AC/DC songs of an album called ‘Powerage'”. Explaining what made the riffs he listed so different, he said: “Just the power. The sheer… it’s just engulf you. You just feel it. It makes you vibrate”.
Another song from “Powerage”, the track “Riff Raff” was also loved by Eddie Van Halen. Talking with Spinner back in 2009 (Via VNHD), he had already praised the album “Powerage” and cited “Riff Raff” again as one of his favorites: “My favorite record by AC/DC is ‘Powerage’. ‘Down The Payment Blues’ off that record is my favorite song by them.”
“They never played it live. We did a co-headlining tour with them back in 1983 or 1984. So I kept asking ‘Angus, you plan on playing ‘Down Payment Blues’? and ‘Riff Raff’? All that stuff is great on that record.”
As Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang Van Halen, who now is the frontman of Mammoth WVH, told Classic Rock in 2022, his father introduced him to AC/DC with the album ‘Powerage’ that was one of his favorites.
The album was the first to featured bassist Cliff Williams. It also had other classics like “Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation”, “Riff Raff” and “Sin City”.