Eddie Van Halen passed away in 2020 at the age of 65 after years battling cancer, alongside with his brother Alex they formed in Pasadena, California back in 1972 the band that carried their surname and became one of the most influential of all time.
There were many eras of the group with different musicians, with Alex and Eddie being the only ones who were part of all their releases. It’s undeniable that their sound wouldn’t have been the same without Eddie’s incredible guitar playing and he still is considered one of the greatest guitarists in the world.
During his career the musician talked a lot about his peers and even mentioned which was one of his favorite guitar solos.
The guitar solo that Eddie Van Halen said was one of his favorites
Over the years Eddie Van Halen had the chance to meet many incredible players and become a good friend of some of them. One of his best friends was the Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, who Eddie admired a lot as a musician too since he was also a really respected and versatile session guitarist.
In an interview with Guitar FTPM magazine in 1993, the two guitarists interviewed each other and Eddie revealed that one Lukather guitar solo was one of his favorites.
After years as a successful session musician and member of Toto, Steve Lukather finally released his debut album “Lukather” in 1989. The guitar solo praised by Van Halen is on that album in the track “Turns To Stone”.
“I want to ask you about some of your favorite solos. There’s a great solo you did on your first solo record. It was a ballad, a bad-ass song (“Turns to Stone”). It’s the record where you and I did the tune together (Twist The Knife).”
Lukather replied, talking about the solo: “It was sort of a worked-out solo. It was a melodic thing but it has really great chord changes. Almost Mahavishnu in the middle of this pretty ballad.” And then Eddie said: “That’s one of my favorites.”
As Eddie said he was part of that album collaborating in the track “Twist The Knife”. However, he didn’t play the guitar, he played the bass guitar in that track.
Van Halen and Toto curiously released their self-titled debut albums in 1978. Eddie and Lukather would meet each other for the first time two years later in 1980. It happened when both bands were booked for the California World Music Festival.
Besides touring with Toto, Lukather also became a constant member of Ringo Starr‘s All Starr band.
Lukather was one of the few guitarists who played with them live
Van Halen never really had many special guests on stage with them during their careers but Steve Lukather was one of them. As he recalled in an interview with Music Radar in 2022, he played with them in Texas and Cabo Wabo.
“I think I am one of the few guitar players who ever played with Van Halen live. I played with them in Texas, at the Cabo Wabo opening.”
“Also I sang background on a couple of records. I just happened to be up and they’re like, ‘Come on!’ If memory serves me right, it would have been the ‘For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge’ album. What was the one before that? Sammy was in the band.”
“Ted Templeman was the producer when I went out there. I think it was Top Of The World. I just did some ‘oohs’ and sang in the background with them. It as no big deal. But I sang on a couple of tracks,” Steve Lukather said.
The guitarist also had the opportunity to hear a few Van Halen tracks before everyone. He recalled in an interview with People in 2020 that Eddie showed him the keyboard riff for the hit “Jump”. Lukather said he was impressed by it and told Van Halen that it was a number 1. hit.
But Eddie told him that David Lee Roth didn’t like the idea of using keyboards. That song was featured on “1984”, David Lee Roth‘s final album with Van Halen in the 80s.
After Sammy Hagar joined the band as Roth’s replacement Eddie started to experiment with the keyboard even more and the band’s sound changed.