If Rock and Roll fans were asked to mention which were some of the most unique guitarists of all time, they would certainly put Eddie Van Halen on their list. The Dutch-American guitar player who formed Van Halen with his brother Alex in 1972 reinvented guitar playing and was a huge influence to countless musicians.
During his career, he talked about many of his peers and also artists who influenced him. There was a British player who Van Halen admired a lot and even said that he was a standalone artist, a really unique composer.
The guitarist that Eddie Van Halen said that was unique
Eddie Van Halen had an amazing career and really was one of the guitarists who had the biggest impact in music since Jimi Hendrix. Although he was influenced by many guitarists he really didn’t play like most of them. He often mentioned the late legendary Jeff Beck as an inspiration. He said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2011 that he was really a standalone in the business.
Eddie was asked by the interviewer he used to listen to Jeff Beck and he said: “I didn’t get into him until ‘Blow By Blow’ (1975). Just the instrumentalness of it. And ‘Wired’ (1976). Interesting stuff in there. I guess it was just the experimentation in there that I liked. Jeff Beck is definitely a standalone. You never know what the hell he’s gonna do. My brother and I were in France 20 years ago, and Jeff Beck was playing. He was doing a rockabilly thing. And we were like, ‘What the hell is this?’ You never know what to expect with him,” Eddie Van Halen said.
As the guitarist said, Jeff Beck had a really versatile career, first achieving fame as a member of The Yardbirds, then creating his own group that was an influence for bands like Led Zeppelin. During the following decades he worked with artists from many different genres like Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Bon Jovi and The Pretenders.
He once listed “Blow By Blow” as one of his favorite albums of all time
Jeff Beck released 17 studio albums and one of them was “Blow By Blow” (1975). It was the record that Eddie Van Halen placed in the sixth position of the list he made of some of his favorite albums of all time for Guitar Tricks Insider magazine back in 2016.
That album was also recorded by Max Middleton (Keyboards), Phil Chen (Bass) and Richard Bailey (Drums). The legendary Stevie Wonder was uncredited at the time, but he played the clavinet in the track “Thelonius”.
“Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” is one of the most famous tracks from the record and it was curiously originally written by Stevie Wonder. The album sold more than a million copies in the United States.
Jeff Beck said that Van Halen was an innovator
During his career Jeff Beck was called countless times an innovator, something that he believed Eddie Van Halen also was. In an interview with Guitar Magazine (Made available by Van Halen News Desk), he said he should get the credit for many of his techniques. But also saying that he needed to try different things.
“I suppose what people are pointing at is Van Halen for being the innovator. The one that committed tapping, hammering-on and harmonic screams to tape before anybody else. That’s quite right. It’s something he should get the credit for”.
“I mean, those guys like Van Halen are so great. But they seem to be stuck in that kind of stuff. Still, he’s got the most amazing technique. You’ve got to take your hat off to him for that. The speed and the frantic element. I could do well to learn from him some of those tricks he pulls,” Jeff Beck said.
Eddie passed away in 2020 at the age of 65, after years battling cancer. Jeff Beck died in 2023 at the age of 78, a victim of bacterial meningitis.