It's Eddie Van Halen's birthday today! To celebrate, we wanted to share six interesting facts that you may not have known about the legendary guitarist.
Eddie Van Halen can't read sheet music
The man started learning the piano at the age of six, and he would painstakingly memorise his piano teacher's finger movements and developed his listening skills until he could hear a record and replay it note for note. He claims that for a couple of years, nobody suspected that he actually couldn't read sheet music at all. However, Eddie credits his understanding of classical music for his ability to write songs.
Eddie's middle name pays homage to classical music
His full name is Eddie Lodewijk Van Halen. Lodewijk pays tribute to the most significant classical musicians in history, Ludwig Van Beethoven. Eddie also named his son after another classical legend, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Van Halen is in the Guinness Book of World Records
You read that right! Eddie's band headlined US Festival in 1983, earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest-paid single appearance of a band. They received a paycheque of $1.5 million USD for a 90-minute set.
Eddie was an inventor
He's known to constantly work on his guitars by picking it apart and piecing them back together until he gets it just right. His name is on three patents - musical instrument support, stringed instrument with adjustable string tension control and guitar peghead.
Battle with Cancer
The guitar god has admitted that he suffered from tongue cancer in 2001 and underwent surgery, losing a third of his tongue in the process. Thankfully, he was declared cancer-free the next year.
Just Beat It!
Eddie played the famous guitar solo on Michael Jackson's 1983 'Beat It'. He did not ask to receive royalties for his contribution to the song as he claims he did it as a favour.