During a recent interview with Total Guitar, Queen’s co-founder and guitarist, Brian May, talked about Eddie Van Halen and revealed his first impression of Eddie after he saw him perform during a concert in 1978 in which Van Halen was supporting Black Sabbath.
There is no doubt that Eddie Van Halen and Brian May are two of the most talented and famous guitarists of all time. As you know, Eddie Van Halen passed away on October 6, 2020, after battling throat cancer for more than five years. Eddie’s passing was mourned by millions all over the world including his fellow guitarists.
Upon his passing, numerous rockstars revealed the details of their first encounter with Eddie, and the latest story was told by Queen’s Brian May. In 1978, Van Halen opened for a Black Sabbath concert which was a big deal for Eddie as he was known to be a big Black Sabbath fan.
In the interview, Brian May revealed that he attended that concert in order to watch Tony Iommi’s performance. Brian May arrived on time and had the chance to watch Van Halen, and in specific Eddie, perform. Brian May was pleasantly surprised and he remembers being ‘blown away‘ by Eddie.
During the interview, May said that his initial thoughts were a fusion of surprise, amazement, and awe. He remembers thinking that he had never seen anything like this in his life and that it was just ‘too much to take in.’ Brian even said that at one point he thought that he’s not ready for this, and laughingly said that he didn’t want to believe it.
He went on to say that watching Eddie Van Halen perform, was similar to watching Jimi Hendrix perform, it left the audience breathless. There probably isn’t a better compliment for a guitarist than being seen as an equal of Hendrix, one of the most influential electric guitarists of all time.
Here’s what Brian May said in the interview:
“I think of him as a boy back then. He was quite a bit younger than me. It was backstage in Munich when Van Halen was supporting Black Sabbath. I knew a little bit about Van Halen and luckily I got there to see them, because I was there to see Tony, and usually you’re late to a show if you’re just going to see your mate.
But I got there in time to see Van Halen and I was utterly blown away by Eddie. I just thought: I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. It was almost too much to take in. I remember thinking, ‘I don’t want to believe this.’ It was similar to watching Jimi Hendrix for the first time.”
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