I remember growing up in the 80s, wondering who Eddie Van Halen’s influences were. I’ve always liked to research the influnces of musicians that I like, but it was hard to learn anything about Eddie Van Halen. At the time it seemed like he would only make statements about how he didn’t really listen to much music. He once said:
Eric Clapton is basically the only guitar player who influenced me — even though I don’t sound like him.
As I started to get into Allan Holdsworth over the past year, I quickly started to think that he might be Eddie Van Halen’s secret influence.
Here are some Allan Holdsworth tracks where I think it’s possible to hear it.
The solo in the first song starts at about 3 minutes in:
This sounds almost like some of Van Halen’s music but in a different genre:
Also this one:
After doing some research, I found that Eddie Van Halen did mention Allan Holdsworth. (Information wasn’t as easy to find back in the 80s as it is now with the Internet.)
Eddie Van Halen proclaimed Holdsworth “the best, in my book,” “the man,” and “so damned good that I can’t cop anything.” Early on, Ed would often cite Eric Clapton as his main influence, but as the years went on, he mentioned Holdsworth just as often.
There is some great trivia in that article. When Eddie Van Halen played the guitar solo to Michael Jackson’s Beat It, he used Allan Holdsworth’s amplifier.
Even though most people aren’t familiar with Allan Holdsworth, it seems like modern electric guitar playing wouldn’t have been the same without his influence on other guitarists.
Here are two videos of Van Halen and Holdsworth playing together: