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Ritchie Blackmore salutes ‘ultimate guitar hero’ Eddie Van Halen, as The Kinks and Pearl Jam pay tribute

Ritchie Blackmore
(Image credit: Rob Verhorst/Redferns)

Tributes to the late, great Eddie Van Halen have been flooding in since the news of the 65-year-old guitarist’s death broke on October 6.

Ritchie Blackmore, Pearl Jam’s Stone Gossard and The Kinks’ Dave Davies are the latest musicians to salute the Dutch-born guitarist’s incomparable skills and seismic influence on the rock world.

“Eddie Van Halen was a brilliant guitarist who started a technique of guitar playing which was emulated by a whole generation of guitarists,” Ritchie Blackmore says. “He was one of the nicest musicians I ever met in the music business. Very shy and not at all conceited about his ability as a guitar player. Frank Zappa said [Eddie] reinvented the guitar. I agree. He will be sadly missed but his brilliant legacy will always be remembered. The ultimate guitar hero.”

“Van Halen changed the world and that’s true originality right there,” Stone Gossard stated on KISW in Seattle. “Nobody knows how to really play like him.”

The Kinks’ Dave Davies paid his own tribute to the guitarist, whose band covered The Kinks’ classics You Really Got Me and Where Have All The Good Times Gone.

“Eddie had an exceptional talent and influenced new generations of musicians,” he said. “Van Halen added their unique style and flavour to their cool versions of Kinks songs You Really Got Me and Where Have all the Good Times Gone. He’ll be very much missed. Condolences to his family, friends and fans.”

AC/DC’s Angus Young, Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page have also saluted Van Halen, who died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. His wife, Janie, was by his side, along with his son, Wolfgang, and elder brother and life-long musical collaborator Alex.