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Hear Eddie Van Halen at his jaw-dropping best on newly unearthed Hendrix cover

Eddie Van Halen
(Image credit: Larry Marano/Getty Images)

Chicago-born keyboardist David Garfield has recorded with everyone from Spinal Tap and Cher to Steve Lukathar and Smokey Robinson during his four decades in the music business. 

One of the highlights of his storied career came in 1996, when he recorded with the late, great Eddie Van Halen. Garfield is now sharing that track, a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s If 6 Was 9, for the first time.

The cover, which appears on Garfield’s new EP, Guitar Heroes OTB, Vol. 1, also features singer/guitarist Michael Landau, bassist Will Lee and drummer Simon Phillips (The Who/Toto). But front and centre is guitar legend Van Halen, who delivers a typically jaw-dropping psychedelic guitar solo for the Hendrix classic.

If 6 Was 9, which appears on Guitar Heroes OTB in extended, remastered form, was recorded in 1996 at Chick Corea’s Mad Hatter Studios in Los Angeles and engineered by Alan Hirshberg. Eddie Van Halen’s overdubs were taped at his own 5150 Studios in LA.

Speaking to Guitar World about how the origins of the track, Garfield explained that he first met Van Halen “at a local cigar store and we got to talking.” At the time, Garfield was working on a project titled Tribute to Jeff Porcaro, in honour of the late Toto drummer, and when he mentioned this to Eddie, and asked if he’d like to participate, the guitarist’s response was an enthusiastic ‘yes!’

Garfield continues: "I went up to his house to work on the tracks with him, and he was so cool. We bonded as keyboard players, too. After that session, we played a live gig together at the Baked Potato, along with Steve Lukather and Michael Landau.

"We continued to stay in touch, and often he would call me out of the blue, asking for help with keyboard related stuff. I even found a guy to travel with him on tour and play additional parts offstage, as well as be his keyboard tech.”

“I'm sure sorry we lost him way too soon; I was hoping to collaborate with him again. Rest in peace, my brother Ed."

Eddie Van Halen passed away on October 6, aged 65.