Eddie and Alex Van Halen came to the United States in 1962. Eddie began playing drums, which he paid for by delivering papers, and Alex began on guitar. By the mid 1970’s, having long since switched instruments, they formed a band called Mammoth, with David Lee Roth on vocals and Michael Anthony on bass. They soon changed the name to Van Halen and were quickly discovered by Gene Simmons of KISS.
Eddie also began custom building his own guitars, while using the shape of a Fender Stratocaster, he would cover the body of his guitar in strips of tape to create a wild design that would become another of his trademarks. Although he was associated with Kramer Guitars throughout the 1980’s, Ed created his own line of guitars for first, the Ernie Ball Company in the early 1990s, before switching to Peavey in the mid-1990’s.
By 1978, Van Halen was released on the Warner Brothers Record label. From there, a string of multi-platinum hit albums. 1984 would be the last album that would feature Roth on vocals. In 1985, Sammy Hagar joined Van Halen as lead singer, and the band's next album, 5150, took them to the number one spot on the charts, a first for the band. The band had hit after hit with Hagar in front. Their next two albums, OU812 (1988) and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991), also were number ones on the charts.
Eddie has also appeared on other artist's recordings -- his most famous being an a soloist on Michael Jackson's 1983 monster hit, "Beat It," as well as collaborations with Queen's Brian May (1983's Star Fleet Project) and Roger Waters (the track "Lost Boys Calling" from 1999's The Legend of 1900 soundtrack).
In recent years, Van Halen has reunited with singer David Lee Roth, but has replaced bassist Michael Anthony with Wolfgang Van Halen, son of Eddie Van Halen.
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