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The 5 guitar solos Eddie Van Halen listed as favorites in the 80s

Eddie Van Halen


The 5 guitar solos Eddie Van Halen listed as favorites in the 80s

The brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen formed the Hard Rock band Van Halen in Pasadena, California back in 1972 and during the next six years played in the bar circuit, writing original songs and trying to get a record deal. It was only in 1978 that the group, which also had the bassist Michael Anthony and the vocalist David Lee Roth, finally released their groundbreaking self-titled debut album. Besides the musicianship and great songs, what also caught the attention of music fans and other artists was the incredible guitar technique which Eddie had.


He inspired countless generations of guitar players and has been named by many of his peers as the most influential guitarist Rock had since Jimi Hendrix. In an interview with Jas Obrecht back in 1980 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), when Van Halen had released only a few albums, Eddie listed the five guitar solos he created which were his favorites. Rock and Roll Garage selected what the musician said during his career about those tracks.

The 5 guitar solos Eddie Van Halen listed as favorites

“You’re No Good”

“Because it almost sounds like a backward solo. People go ‘How you getting that effect?’ Come see me live, Jack! It’s normal, I mean that’s what I hate. Whenever you do something different they immediately think it’s some brand new electro harmonix piece of shit, you know. But it’s not, that’s what pisses me off. I don’t want to come off like ‘Hey, come see me live, I can do it, watch!” Eddie Van Halen told Jas Obrecht.

“You’re No Good” was originally written by Clint Ballard Jr. and recorded by Dee Dee Warwick in 1963. Van Halen was convinced by the record company to cover many songs in their first albums, including this particular track.


Van Halen’s most famous instrumental track, “Eruption” was released on their self-titled debut album in 1978. The track almost didn’t make into the record because it was actually just an exercise the guitarist used to do. One day he was in the studio with the producer Ted Templeman and played that track to warm up and that’s when the producer said they should put on the album.

He recalled that in an interview with Guitar Player magazine in 2023. “I was in this little room making phone calls next to the recording studio. I walked in and Ed was sitting there kind of playing it. And I went, “What’s that?” He said, ‘It’s just something I warm up with before each show. And I said, ‘Donn, roll tape!’ and he said, ‘I’m rolling.'”

“He heard it too and he’d already pressed ‘record.’ So it just went – boom. We got it, just like that. I’d never heard anything like that, I’d never heard that kind of tapping. I’d never heard anything that brilliant. Ed said, ‘No, it’s nothing.'”

“He didn’t even know. In addition to being a genius, Ed is one of the sweetest guys on the planet. Such a nice guy. He wasn’t even gonna show it to me,” Ted Templemand said. The track has been listed as one of the greatest guitar solos of all time by Rolling Stone.

“You Really Got Me”

On their first albums, the band was convinced to record many covers. The reason was that it would be easier to get more audience with songs which were already famous. So “You Really Got Me” which was released by The Kinks in 1964 was covered by the American band in 1978 for their debut album.

It performed well on the charts as one of their debut singles. It peaked at number 36 on the United States Billboard Hot 100. Curiously, the song got so famous over the years as part of their live concerts that The Kinks vocalist, guitarist and main songwriter Ray Davies said that people used to ask him why they were covering a Van Halen song.

“Spanish Fly”

Another song from “Van Halen II” listed by Eddie Van Halen was “Spanish Fly”. It is an instrumental track recorded on a fast flamenco-style nylon-string piece. Talking with Obrecht for Guitar World in 1980, Eddie said that the track was influenced by his piano study.

“Things like this are classical (Spanish Fly). I know that had some things psychologically come out. But I don’t actually sit down at a piano and try to apply it to guitar,” Eddie Van Halen said.

During the same conversation he said he used a guitar pick to play the track except for the part near the end which sounds like “Montoya”.

“I’m The One”

“I’m The One” is another track from Van Halen’s debut album which Eddie said it had one of his favorite guitar solos. According to Setlist FM, that track was played by the band live almost 200 times and about 25 times by David Lee Roth during his solo shows.

It wasn’t performed by Sammy Hagar during his time in the band, coming back again to the set in the late 90s when Gary Cherone became the group’s singer. But the last time the track was performed by them live was during their reunion with David Lee Roth in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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