In a moving essay for Rolling Stone, the British rocker paid tribute to the late Van Halen co-founder and guitar virtuoso, Eddie Van Halen, who died on Tuesday following a battle with throat cancer. He was 65.
“I remember seeing Eddie do that finger-tapping thing, and that was the first time I’d ever seen anyone do that. Just when you think nobody can make guitar playing exciting, somebody like that comes out. He was one of them,” Osbourne, 71, wrote.
He described how anybody was “second” in comparison to Eddie’s playing skills and what made him stand out was the emotion he put into playing. “He made it look so easy,” Osbourne said.
“One thing I loved about Eddie was he always had a big grin on his face, and he looked like he was enjoying every second he was up there,” Osbourne continued. “Whether it was showbiz bullsh*t or not – I don’t think it was – he always looked like he was having the best time of his life up there.”
Eddie joined Osbourne on the last official Black Sabbath tour in 1979.
“I could sit and watch Eddie Van Halen play guitar all day,” Osbourne raved. “He’s so entertaining as a guitar player. He made it look like it was not difficult. He made it look like it was a natural thing. Everybody else was trying to be Eddie Van Halen, but there is only one Eddie Van Halen. I thought he was brilliant. God only knows, what you have to do to get that good.”
With his distinct solos, Eddie was the engine behind the ultimate California party band and helped knock disco off the charts starting in the late 1970s with his band’s self-titled debut album and then with the blockbuster record “1984,” which contains the classics “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher.”
He started his eponymous group in 1974 with his brother Alex on drums, bass player Michael Anthony, and the flamboyant lead singer David Lee Roth.
Eddie is among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time and the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. Rolling Stone magazine put Eddie Van Halen at No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.
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