Happy Birthday Eddie Van Halen

Written by on January 26, 2021

This month, Edward Van Halen would have turned 66. This is his first birthday in which fans must simply honor his memory in his absence, and we must continue to do so going forward.

I remember as a young fan learning the date of Eddie’s birthday, and I actually used to even put it on my calendar. Back in the day, of course, we all thought Ed was two years younger than he actually was because David Lee Roth introduced the idea of “age shaving” to bolster their image. But Eddie was in fact born in 1955 and not 1957 — he noted that used to cause him various kinds of trouble for years.

Back in January 2008, Van Halen was in the middle of their first reunion tour with Dave since 1984, and it was something I had been looking forward to for 24 years. I had a real concern, however, that it could be my only chance to see Dave and Eddie perform together, period, given their history as well as rocky moments specifically during that tour. Since the 1984 tour show was confined only to my memory banks, I decided it was worth it for me to sneak a video camera into the concert to capture the event for my posterity. It was no easy feat getting a bulky camcorder through security, but I got it done.

It turns out the show we went to see in Dallas was in fact on the day of Eddie’s 53rd birthday. I had a feeling that the crowd might sing “Happy Birthday” at some point, and that it would be a special moment to capture. Unfortunately, our seats were way up high in the back, but my video camera (pre-smart phone days) had an amazing zoom. During “Romeo Delight”, Dave did in fact lead the crowd in singing birthday wishes to Edward.

I brought the camera into the show only to document it for me personally, and not to create a bootleg or sell it or anything like that. Youtube was still fairly new, so I decided to upload it. It did not exactly go super viral, but has been viewed 44,000 times. On Ed’s birthday today, take a look and listen to 20,000 people singing “Happy Birthday” to the man himself (jump to 3:30).

Losing Ed was difficult for all of his adoring fans. Fortunately, he left an incredible body of work and legacy for us to enjoy for the rest of our lives. Let us continue to remember him annually on his birthday, and celebrate his greatness in your own way.

–Kevin Dodds


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