Heart star Nancy Wilson has revealed that her upcoming album You And Me will feature a tribute to Eddie Van Halen, called 4 Edward. The song, an instrumental lullaby, returns a long-standing favour, after EVH composed a song for Nancy when Van Halen and Heart first toured together in 1979.
In the 2013 autobiography Wilson wrote with sister Ann, Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul and Rock & Roll (opens in new tab), Nancy told the story of Eddie's song, revealing that Eddie andf Alex Van Halen had propositioned the Wilsons after a show. The sisters didn't accept, and the conversation turned to music.
“Eddie Van Halen – at that point one of the greatest living guitar players, when he wasn’t punching his brother in the face – didn’t own a single acoustic guitar," she wrote. "I couldn’t believe it. But he swore it was true.
“'I’m going to buy you an acoustic guitar right now,' I announced. 'I went and woke up our road manager. He told me that at midnight instrument stores were closed. 'Then let’s give him one of mine,' I declared. We went to our gear truck, and I took my favourite Ovation. I walked up to Eddie’s room and handed it to him.
"He started crying. 'That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me,' Eddie said."
The following morning, Wilson awoke to find that Eddie had stayed up and written a song about her, which he played down the phone.
“The song went on for many minutes and was truly amazing," wrote Nancy. "It was more of a suite than a song, but it was beautiful. Eventually, the line went dead – I think Eddie had passed out.
"I don’t know if he ever played the song again, or even if, when he sobered up, he remembered anything about the night, except that he and Alex didn’t manage to take the Wilsons to bed. But it was the best thing I ever heard Eddie Van Halen play. I only wish I could hear it again."
Wilson has also released details of the rest of the songs on You And Me. Most are originals, but Wilson has also recorded several cover versions, including Pearl Jam’s Daughter, Simon & Garfunkel’s The Boxer, The Cranberries' Dreams and Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising, which was released as a single last October.
“I don’t know why it took me so long to do this,” she says, referring to what she calls her first true solo album (the acoustic Live At McCabes Guitar Shop was released in 1999). “Maybe I was stuck in traffic, maybe I was stuck in the Heart vortex of it all."
She continues: "Whether you’re performing onstage, or in the studio, it’s always about that relationship, and that conversation. It’s always been ‘you’ and 'me.'”
You And Me tracklist
1. You and Me
2. The Rising
3. I’ll Find You
5. Party at the Angel Ballroom (with Duff McKagan & Taylor Hawkins)
6. The Boxer (with Sammy Hagar)
7. Walk Away
8. The Inbetween
9. Dreams (with Liv Warfield)
10. The Dragon
11. We Meet Again
12. 4 Edward