A memorial plaque to the late legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen was unveiled on Monday (Oct 11) in his hometown of Pasadena, California. The tribute celebrates Eddie as someone who will "forever be remembered for reinventing Rock 'n' Roll" and for "their connection to Pasadena."
The commemoration was revealed a few days after the anniversary of his death, and has been placed near the Civic Auditorium, where Van Halen played numerous times between 1975 and 1978.
The project was orchestrated by two Pasadena residents, Randa Schmalfeld and Julie Kimura, who managed to raise a total of $6,500 via GoFundMe donations from Van Halen fans around the world. The fundraiser page reads:
"When Pasadena’s own hometown Rock Star, Eddie Van Halen, passed away recently, we all felt our city mourn together, people are still sharing stories of their history with the band and band members, and we have seen tributes near where Eddie and Alex grew up on Las Lunas Street grow daily.
"As the city that saw Eddie grow into the person and star he became, our community pride needs a place to shine… and a permanent way to honor our hometown legend."
On raising the money, the pair have additionally now requested for an alley in Old Town Pasadena be named after Eddie Van Halen, "the world-renown guitar Virtuoso and his amazing band!". They're also now working on raising funds for a "large mural at Pasadena High School in honor of Ed and Alex Van Halen." They continue, "If you're a Van Halen Fan and would like to keep this party going, please consider donating to this great cause."
In attendance at the plaque unveiling was Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo and council members Tyrone Hampton, Andy Wilson, Gene Masuda and Felicia Williams, however the public were not invited due to coronavirus restrictions. Eddie Van Halen's family also reportedly could not attend due to scheduling conflicts.
"This event brings together history and community to celebrate a world-renowned artist," Williams explains. "It's not just the history of Eddie as a guitar legend, but also the challenges he faced growing up mixed race in Pasadena, which always spoke to me. And the community support and initiative to make this happen is inspiring. Thank you to everyone."
The plaque reads: "The Van Halen family emigrated from the Netherlands to Pasadena in 1962. Alex and Eddie Van Halen attended schools in Pasadena and began playing music together with Eddie on guitar and Alex on drums. Years later, the brothers formed the band Van Halen, along with bassist Michael Anthony and vocalist David Lee Roth.]
"Between 1975 and 1978, Van Halen performed 14 concerts at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium and Conference Center. Regarded as one of the most successful bands of all time, Van Halen will forever be remembered for reinventing Rock 'n' Roll and their connection to Pasadena."