29 Years Ago: Eddie Van Halen Makes a Surprise ‘SNL’ Appearance
Generally speaking, Saturday Night Live‘s guest hosts aren’t encouraged to bring their spouses along for the taping, but the show made an exception for Valerie Bertinelli on Feb. 28, 1987.
As Van Halen fans no doubt recall, Bertinelli was married to Eddie Van Halen at the time, and though her guitar god hubby didn’t sit in as the episode’s musical guest — an honor reserved for blues great Robert Cray — Eddie did make a couple of appearances during the show.
The episode even had something of a Van Halen theme. During that week’s “Weekend Update” segment, cast member Dana Carvey offered a wildly antic impression of former VH vocalist David Lee Roth, bounding around the room while a “lost weekend” contest winner (played by Jon Lovitz) silently begged anchor Dennis Miller for help. Eddie surfaced in a sketch of his own, showing up alongside Bertinelli for a segment dubbed “Dinner With the Van Halens” in which a trio of roadies (played by Lovitz, Miller and Kevin Nealon) try to get the couple a restaurant table.
But what people really wanted was to see Eddie play guitar — and they got their wish in the musical interlude above, which found Van Halen playing alongside G.E. Smith and the SNL house band for an instrumental number titled “Stompin’ 8H.” As the Van Halen News Desk notes, various versions of the clip have flitted on and off YouTube over the years, but this one comes courtesy of NBC, so it should be up for a good long while. On the other hand, it’s impossible to take anything for granted where Van Halen is concerned, so why not watch it now?
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