Eddie Van Halen: The Career of a Legendary Guitarist

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Last updated on September 7th, 2023 at 01:45 am

Eddie Van Halen earned his reputation as one of the greatest guitarists in the history of rock music. Known as the co-founder, lead guitarist, keyboardist, and primary songwriter of the rock band Van Halen, he is famous for bringing attention to the tapping guitar technique. The innovative technique, including rapid arpeggios played with two hands on the fretboard, forever changed the method of future guitarists everywhere. 

With a career so prominent, it’s no wonder that his wealth was so immense by the end of his life, which was cut tragically short by many years of health struggles. 

What is Eddie Van Halen’s net worth, and how did his legendary career end? Find out that and more below. 

Eddie Van Halen’s Net Worth

In the end, Eddie Van Halen was living like a king. Eddie Van Halen’s net worth was approximately $100 million at the time of his 2020 death. 

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How Much Did Eddie Van Halen Make a Year? 

While Eddie Van Halen’s exact salary is not completely clear, we have to estimate that it was in the multi-millions considering the band Van Halen would get paid as much as $1.5 million for any one performance. 

How Did Eddie Van Halen Get Rich? 

As one of the world’s greatest guitarists, Eddie Van Halen accrued his extensive wealth and riches through the years with the rock band Van Halen, one of the best-selling bands of all time, with over 80 million records sold worldwide. 

He also earned his money through his business endeavors, including 5150 Studios and his line of Wolfgang Guitars. 

Van Halen also had a few endorsement deals throughout his career. Some of the most notable include with Ernie Ball, who launched the 5150 EVH line of guitar strings in 1989, and Eddie Van Halen’s series of amplifiers and cabinets developed in partnership with Peavey Electronics, which started in 1993. 

Who Inherited Eddie Van Halen’s Net Worth? 

While the specific details of who inherited Eddie Van Halen’s net worth upon his death have never been divulged, many have inferred that his net worth was split amongst his son, Wolfgang, his brother, Alex, his second wife, Janie, and perhaps even his ex-wife, Valerie Bertinelli. 

Eddie Van Halen’s Cars

Eddie Van Halen had an impressive car collection throughout his life that was complete with some of the most classic vehicles to some high-end ones, too. 

The day after his death, WhichCar? released an article highlighting the glorious collection. 

Some of the most recognizable cars featured in the article include his Chev C1500 pick-up, a 1970 Chevrolet Nova, a 1956 Chev Nomad, and a Supercharged Audi R8s. 

His collection also included a 1955 Chev 210, a Porsche 911 GT3 RS, a Ferrari 550, and a Porsche 911 Turbo by RUF. 

We can only say that Van Halen was riding around style throughout his life. 

david lee roth with eddie von halen singing on stage
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Eddie Van Halen’s House

Toward the end of his life, Eddie Van Halen owned multiple Los Angeles homes, including a 10,000-square-foot estate in the Coldwater Canyon neighborhood. 

Known as his primary residence, he bought the property in the early 1980s, nicknaming it the 5150 Estate, where he also built 5150 Studio, where all his albums since 1984 were recorded. 

Van Halen also had a residence off the coast of Malibu where he requested his ashes be scattered following his death in 2020.

How Much Were Eddie Van Halen Tickets? 

Back in the day, when fans wanted to see Eddie Van Halen perform with the famed Van Halen band, they would have to shell out quite a few dollars. On average, the ticket price was more than $200. 

It certainly cost a lot of money, but we would venture to say that most fans didn’t mind after witnessing one of their shows. 

Eddie Van Halen’s Early Career

Eddie Van Halen’s musical life began at age six when he began learning piano, studying under Stasys Kalvaitis, and commuting from Pasadena to San Pedro to do so. 

Although he never learned to read music, Van Halen learned how to improvise while studying recitals of classical composers Bach and Mozart.

Later, as he began to gravitate toward rock music, he became influenced by legendary bands such as the Beatles and the Dave Clark Five. 

Initially, Van Halen began learning the drums while his brother Alex took up the guitar. The two eventually switched once the latter proved his skills on the former by playing the drum solo on the Surfaris’ “Wipe Out.”  

Van Halen went on to teach himself to play, quickly proving himself to be a prodigy on the stringed instrument. 

Their instruments established, Eddie and Alex would go on to form their first band, The Broken Combs, while in elementary school. It would only be another decade or so before the world would soon know him. 

Related: 15 Interesting Facts About The Beatles Members

eddie van halen playing without a shirt in 2007
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How Did Eddie Van Halen Become Famous? 

Eddie Van Halen rose to fame as the co-founder of one of the most influential rock bands of all time, Van Halen, in 1972, alongside his brother Alex Van Halen.

Once David Lee Roth joined the band, originally known as Mammoth, as the lead singer, Van Halen was off and running. 

Almost from the beginning, Van Halen became a household name that fans everywhere continue to idolize to this day, earning Eddie Van Halen his place as one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. 

Related: 6 Best Rock Bands of All Time

Eddie Van Halen’s Career

For its nearly three-decade run, Van Halen remained the most prominent part of Eddie Van Halen’s impressive career. 

During that time, he played the guitar and keyboards as well as provided backing vocals for all 12 of the band’s studio albums over the years, from Van Halen I, II, and III (1978, 79, 98) to Fair Warning (1981), and A Different Kind of Truth (2012). 

The band’s many years led to several World Tours as well, the final being the North American Tour in 2015. 

The Van Halen band wasn’t Eddie Van Halen’s only project over the years, however. 

He has made a name for his solo career as well, working on movie soundtracks for Twister (“Respect the Wind”) and The Wild Life (“Donut City”).

He also collaborated as a guitar player with other bands and artists, including Gene Simmons, the bassist for KISS, Black Sabbath, LL Cool J, and most famously, Michael Jackson for his hit song “Beat It.”

He also appeared in the “L.A. Is My Lady” music video by Frank Sinatra and even a couple of television shows, including Two and a Half Men and Café Americain, alongside his ex-wife, Valerie Bertinelli.  

Related: How Did Michael Jackson Die? The Details Might Surprise You

Who Was a Better Guitar Player, Eddie Van Halen or Jimi Hendrix? 

Saying who is better is a relative term, but many outlets have polled the public to find an average number. In a 2018 survey, the Van Halen News Desk reported that 61 percent of voters chose Van Halen over Hendrix

Speaking of the competition, what did Van Halen think of Jimi Hendrix? According to Adrian Vandenberg, former guitarist of Whitesnake, Van Halen once described Hendrix’s guitar playing as “sloppy.” 

It’s worth noting that on most lists you find when searching for who is considered the greatest guitar player of all time, Hendrix outranks Van Halen. 

Related: The 16 Greatest Guitar Players of All-Time

eddie van halen on stage with his son wolfgang van halen
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Who Did Eddie Van Halen Idolize? 

Even some of the greatest musicians in history had those they looked up to in the beginning and who inspired their careers. Eddie Van Halen was no exception. 

For him, his biggest influence was Eric Clapton. Van Halen told Rolling Stone in 2011, “What attracted me to his playing and style and vibe was the basic simplicity in his approach and his tone, his sound. He just basically took a Gibson guitar and plugged it straight into a Marshall, and that was it.” 

Clapton is also the answer to the question, who did Eddie Van Halen say was the greatest guitarist? 

When Was Eddie Van Halen Born?

Edward Lodewijk van Halen’s birthdate was Jan. 26, 1955. 

Van Halen’s Zodiac sign was Aquarius, meaning he was somewhat of an oddball with a quirky personality. We’ll let you be the judge of that. 

How Tall is Eddie Van Halen? 

The “316” singer was of average height. Eddie Van Halen’s height was approximately 5 feet, 8 inches tall. 

How Much Does Eddie Van Halen Weigh? 

Eddie Van Halen’s weight was approximately 158 pounds. 

Where Was Eddie Van Halen From? 

Eddie Van Halen was born in Amsterdam, eventually settling in Nijmegen, Netherlands, where the future rockstar grew up. The family later moved to the United States after his parents were mistreated for their mixed-race relationship. 

Van Halen and his brother, Alex, attended a segregated elementary school where they were considered minority students because they didn’t speak a lot of English, which resulted in the boys experiencing bullying by other students. 

Van Halen once said of the move, “We came here with approximately $50 and a piano, and we didn’t speak the language. Now look where we are. If that’s not the American dream, what is?” 

Eddie Van Halen’s Parents

Eddie Van Halen is the son of Dutch jazz pianist, clarinetist, and saxophonist, Jan Van Halen and Eugenia (Beers), an Indonesian woman from Rangkasbitung. 

Eddie Van Halen’s Ethnicity

Eddie Van Halen’s ethnicity includes Dutch and Indonesian. 

wolfgang van halen and his mom valerie bertinelli
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Who Was Eddie Van Halen Married To? 

Who was the love of Eddie Van Halen’s life? Most fans would bet on his first wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli, the star of such shows as One Day at a TimeTouched by an Angel, and Hot in Cleveland

The pair met in 1980 at a Van Halen concert in Shreveport, Louisiana, and married less than a year later on Apr. 11, 1981. For the next 20 years, they remained one of the most high-profile couples until Bertinelli filed for divorce in 2005. The couple had been separated since 2001. The divorce was final in 2007. 

Who was Eddie Van Halen’s last wife? That would be actress and stuntwoman Janie Liszewski, whom he proposed to in 2008. They were married at his estate in Studio City in 2009. His brother, Alex Van Halen, officiated. 

Related: Valerie Bertinelli’s Net Worth: Her Big Life as Van Halen’s Ex

Eddie Van Halen’s Children

Eddie Van Halen had one son with his first wife, Wolfgang Van Halen, born on Mar. 16, 1991. His son has followed in his father’s footsteps over the years as a legendary musician and guitarist in his own right. 

Related: Wolfgang Van Halen: The Huge Career of Eddie Van Halen’s Son

Eddie Van Halen’s Tattoos

Eddie Van Halen had a couple of permanent ink designs on his body.

Some of the most recognizable include his son’s name, Wolfgang, tattooed on his upper right arm, and a heart with his ex-wife, Valerie’s name on his upper left arm. 

wolfgang van halen with the other members of the van halen band
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Eddie Van Halen’s Health

Eddie Van Halen’s health has always been a struggle, beginning with his problems with drugs and alcohol, which started when he was only 12. In 2007, he entered rehab and said in a later interview that he had been sober since 2008. 

He also suffered from chronic avascular necrosis, which affects bone tissue, and eventually had hip replacement surgery in 1999. He also battled diverticulitis in 2012. 

His biggest health battle, however, began in 2000 when he began receiving treatment for tongue cancer, which led to surgery to remove a third of his tongue.

Although he was declared cancer-free two years later, he faced the battle again in 2014 when he was diagnosed with throat cancer. His struggle wasn’t revealed to fans until 2019, after he was hospitalized. 

This final bout with cancer as well as a fight against lung cancer, pneumonia, and myelodysplastic syndrome, is ultimately what caused Van Halen’s stroke in 2020. The stroke eventually took his life on Oct. 6, 2020. He was only 65. 

Eddie Van Halen’s Awards and Recognitions

Just as Van Halen is the most significant player in Eddie Van Halen’s long career, it is also the reason for his numerous awards over the years.

Their 1991 album, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, proved to arguably be their most popular and greatest album of all time, as it earned them the American Music Award for Favorite Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Album and the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1992.  

The band also took home four MTV Video Music Awards over the years, including the Best Stage Performance in a Video for “Jump” in 1984. Their hit song “Right Now” earned MTV awards in 1992 for Video of the Year, Best Direction in a Video, and Best Editing in a Video. 

No doubt, the penultimate honor came with the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Who knows what would have happened had we not lost one of the greatest artists of all time so tragically soon.

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Written by Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson received her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth in 2015. She has worked in journalism since 2015, beginning as production assistant and eventual head staff writer of the Fort Leavenworth Lamp newspaper in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Currently, she is a multimedia journalist with the Diocese of Nashville's Office of Media and Evangelization where she writes, does photography, and edits for several types of content, including the Tennessee Register, Catholic Awakenings, and She has also worked as a freelance journalist with the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas's newspaper, The Leaven, since 2016.
In her spare time, Peterson enjoys reading, spending time with her pup, Sadie Lynn, singing and songwriting.


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