He was an inventive force in music. His sound first caught my ear while I was sweeping a floor as a 16-year-old in a blue smock/uniform at Osco Drug. It was unlike anything else...and it still is.
That sound featured melodic, finger-bending guitar work pulsing with raw fury, adding direct and sometimes sarcastic lyrics about love and life's pursuits.
Later, Eddie's band became a pop sensation with "Dance the Night Away", "Jump", "Why Cant this be Love?" and "Right Now". He even played on Michael Jackson's "Beat it".
My daughter called me from college tonight to see if I was okay, guessing that I was sad. She said her animation professor was beside himself today, too.
This stings...and feels much like the untimely loss of Tom Petty, almost exactly three years ago.
It's a bit embarrassing to admit being a fan of such "noise" at my current age, but the inventive playfulness of this man from Amsterdam and his rowdy band mates has stirred my muse, and made me smile countless times.
Rest in peace, Eddie Van Halen. (Seems like a contradiction in terms).