Eddie Van Halen Picks His Favorite Guitar Riffs
Asked to name some of his all-time favorite riffs, Eddie Van Halen took some time to explain the makings of a great one. "Just the power," Van Halen told Billboard. "It just engulfs you. You just feel it, you know? It makes you vibrate."
Specifically, Van Halen mentions Tony Iommi's work on "Into the Void" from Black Sabbath's 1971 album Masters of Reality; Eric Clapton's "Sunshine of Your Love" from the 1967 Cream LP Disraeli Gears; 1974's "Burn," the title track from the Ritchie Blackmore-led Deep Purple's first album with singer David Coverdale; and 1978's "Down Payment Blues" from AC/DC's Powerage. Van Halen adds that the latter track, powered along by Malcolm Young, is "one of my all-time favorites."
Still, it wasn't an easy list to compile for someone who boasts a catalog of memorable performances like "Eruption," the appropriately named second song from the Van Halen band's self-titled 1978 debut. "There are millions of riffs," Van Halen admitted. "I wrack my brain, trying to think. Obviously, I can't mention any of my own, right?"
Van Halen fans got to enjoy many of those classic riffs during a 2015 tour that wrapped up in October with a pair of shows at the Hollywood Bowl. Original frontman David Lee Roth paid tribute to Eddie on their final night, saying "the best years of my life, the high points of all my life [happened] onstage with you, homeboy."
The Top 100 Rock Albums of the '70s
Van Halen Albums: Ranked Worst to Best