Eddie Van Halen’s Favorite Guitar Player Revealed
via Billboard / Youtube
Eddie Van Halen was an iconic guitar hero to hordes of followers in the 1970s and afterward for popularizing shredding skills and neo-classical expertise in the context of rock and metal. Although Van Halen’s playing style was unlike anyone else’s, that didn’t mean he didn’t have his own inspirations.
In a 1981 interview with Guitar World Magazine Van Halen discussed the guitarists who had the most influence on his own style. “[Eric] Clapton was it. I knew every note he played,” Van Halen explained. “That’s what I was known for around home. Me, Alex and another bass player called ourselves Mammoth and we were the junior Cream. It’s funny. When I do interviews and tell people Clapton was my main influence, they go, ‘Who?’” Van Halen added. “Because they’re thinking about Clapton doing ‘Lay Down Sally’, not the Bluesbreakers or Cream.”
He also added: “I haven’t heard anyone do a long interesting guitar solo outside of early Clapton. I do a guitar solo in the live show which is long. Some people may think it’s boring, but I have fun. Clapton was my favorite.”
It’s inevitable for someone like Van Halen to adore Clapton, given that he grew up listening to bands that either had Clapton as a member or even his own music. For a hard rock guitarist to idolize a blues-rock hero, we could prove that music truly knows no boundaries.