Watch Eddie Van Halen Do His Iconic Guitar Monkey Sound
via Parade Sitorus / Youtube
Fans of Van Halen will surely be reminded of the greatness of Eddie Van Halen after seeing legendary guitarists displaying his trademark dolphin-sound trick, but with a twist: when he added a wah-wah effect to it, the sound became of a monkey’s.
This is just one of Eddie’s tricks that he busted out during live performances, and fans and guitar enthusiasts alike were always amazed at how the iconic rockstar knew his way around the instrument.
This video was taken by a fan who witnessed Eddie monkey around during Van Halen’s 2008 North American tour, particularly on the May 13 concert at Izod Center in Jersey City, New Jersey. The fan explained in the video description how the guitarist achieved the monkey chatter.
Dolphin sounds in “Cathedral”
Eddie Van Halen usually introduces the instrumental “Cathedral” from Diver Down with the iconic dolphin sound. In the 1982 album, Cathedral precedes the song Secrets, followed by another instrumental, “Intruder”, before the band breaks into their cover of Roy Orbison’s “(Oh) Pretty Woman”.
Cathedral is only nearly a minute and a half but it packs a punch, especially with the usual Van Halen solo. The instrumental got the churchy title from its ‘Catholic church organ’ sound.
Eddie shared with Guitar Player’s Jas Obrecht in 1982 how he created the song: “I’ve been doing “Cathedral” for more than a year and I wanted to put it on record… it sounds like a Catholic church organ, which is how it got its name. On that cut I use the volume knob a lot. If you turn it up and down too fast, it heats up and freezes. I did two takes of that song, and right at the end of the second take, the volume knob just froze, just stopped.”
In 2022, Guitar World ranked Diver Down as the third-best among the “Top 25 Rock Guitar Albums of 1982”.
Eddie Van Halen with his guitars, 1982. Photo by Richard E. Aaron. pic.twitter.com/8hjGBTl5vz
— Classic Rock In Pics (@crockpics) December 30, 2022
Eddie’s animal sounds
Eddie has consistently excelled in his craft due to his groundbreaking approach to his instrument. His use of effects in the past was truly cutting-edge, and he constantly pushed the boundaries of guitar playing with innovative techniques.
Not just dolphin sounds, or monkey sounds, the legendary musician can do more animal sounds, like his famous elephant and horse sounds.
There’s another famous clip on YouTube where Van Halen skillfully mimicked such sounds using his guitar. It was a pre-concert footage that was shown as part of the 1986 MTV Van Halen Special.
If you close your eyes and listen to the magic Eddie does, you’ll be convinced that you are hearing the actual sounds of an elephant and a horse. Listen to the clip below:
No Eddie, no Van Halen
These antics and his guitar prowess are what fans missed the most from the late leader and face of Van Halen.
Eddie has bestowed the world with four decades of musical brilliance. His unique approach to the guitar has inspired an entire generation of guitarists who now see the instrument as limitless in its possibilities. He introduced a multitude of new styles and sounds that will continue to be analyzed for years to come.
He is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential rock guitarists in the world. In 2012, he earned the top spot in the first-ever Guitar World magazine reader’s poll, crowning him as best in “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
Van Halen left the world reeling when he passed away on October 6, 2020, after a long battle with cancer. His legacy lives on although the band will be no more, as stated by his son, Wolfgang.
“You can’t have Van Halen without Eddie Van Halen,” Eddie’s son said in a Rolling Stone interview a month after his father’s death. Wolfgang once more confirmed the band’s demise in another interview with Ultimate Classic Rock in August 2023.
Who else misses Eddie Van Halen? pic.twitter.com/Fo1jX4fIqW
— VINTAGE ROCK N’ ROLL 🎸 (@RockNRoLL_85) October 6, 2023