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12 Awesome Stories About Eddie Van Halen That Sound Made Up - But Aren't

Updated January 6, 2021 9.1k votes 1.4k voters 99.5k views12 items

List RulesVote up the Eddie Van Halen stories you're surprised to find out are true.

Tragically, one of the greatest guitarists to ever grace the stage passed on October 6, 2020. Eddie Van Halen had been an innovator on the guitar and in the music world since the '70s. Most people assumed his guitar was naturally another appendage because he knew so intuitively how to make music. His success as a "guitar god" will never be forgotten, but other aspects of his rock 'n' roll lifestyle might fall by the wayside. 

To honor the late, great Van Halen, many people flooded Twitter and other news sites to express their condolences and share their favorite memories. Many of the stories from his life of fame and fortune sound like they came from a Hollywood movie script - too wild and far out to possibly be real. But we assure you, these are true stories from the life of the legendary, secretive Eddie Van Halen. 

  • 5

    He Told A Total Stranger Confidential Information Before It Broke

    When an online forum asked people to recount their memories of meeting Eddie Van Halen, one commenter's story stood out. Robin Bailey wrote about his time as an employee at a bike shop in Santa Monica that happened to be directly next door to a place Van Halen visited.

    After strategically placing himself in the parking lot at the proper time, Bailey got his chance to say hello to the guitarist. They chatted a moment, and Bailey asked how the band was. Van Halen responded with, "Good. We just finished recording two new songs with Roth, and we're looking for a singer." Bailey said Van Halen went on to talk about Hagar's inability to sing and the fact that his process took much longer than what he believed a singer should be able to turn out. Bailey responded "bummer" before Van Halen walked away.

    A few months later, news broke that Sammy Hagar was leaving the band and the boys had reunited with David Lee Roth, who was already working on two songs. Bailey, simply a stranger who started a conversation, learned this information long before the press found out.

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  • 6

    He Could Never Read Music

    Van Halen's father, who played jazz music, had enrolled both Eddie and his brother in piano lessons by the time they were 5 years old. Van Halen actually played the piano long before he tried to play drums or guitar. When speaking about his childhood piano teacher, he mentioned that the instructor didn't speak English and would slap him if he made mistakes. The language barrier may in fact be the reason Van Halen never actually learned to read music. He jokingly claimed to have fooled everyone by "watch[ing] his fingers, and [he]'d play it."

    Despite learning to play the piano in a slightly unconventional manner, Van Halen recalled winning first place in a contest at Long Beach City College three years in a row. After a while, Van Halen claimed he no longer wanted to sit down. He went on to say, "I want to stand up and be crazy." Shortly after, both he and his brother ventured out to be rock stars - all while not being able to read music. 

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  • 7

    A Police Captain Voided A Speeding Ticket Van Halen Was Given Because Of His Name

    Ironically, on his way to a small raceway, Van Halen decided to put the pedal to the metal and went around 90 or 95 miles an hour on a 65-mile-an-hour freeway in Los Angeles. A police officer pulled him over and gave him a ticket. 

    Not long afterward, however, Van Halen's office received a letter that the ticket had been voided. Apparently, the captain noticed the name on the infraction and told the officer, "You don't give Eddie Van Halen a speeding ticket!"

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  • 8

    He Was Never Asked To Be On 'SNL' - It Just Happened

    He Was Never Asked To Be On 'SNL' - It Just Happened
    Photo: Saturday Night Live / NBC

    In February 1987, Eddie Van Halen reluctantly accompanied his then-wife, Valerie Bertinelli, to the set of SNL, where she was set to host the show. The saving grace for Van Halen was the band room, where he felt he would fit in.

    SNL's house band guitarist G.E. Smith, however, wanted him to do more than simply hang out backstage. Smith convinced Van Halen to do an impromptu performance with the band that night. They composed the song on the spot, and Smith remembered being in awe of his talent during the sound check. He did recall, however, that during the live performance Van Halen made a small mistake. Smith said Van Halen was really torn up about messing up - even if it was something so small that no one would notice.

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