Phil Collen’s Only Complaint About Eddie Van Halen

Even from a young age, it was almost impossible to think of Jimi Hendrix without his guitar. Although his dad wasn’t eager to buy him the six-stringed instrument as a schoolboy, a social worker from his elementary school would often witness the young Jimi clinging to a broomstick and playing with it like it was a guitar.

His talents as a guitar hero had been carved into his DNA, and after his father finally gave in and bought him a guitar, the rocker would define the ’60s with his riffs and influence upcoming generations. However, as Hendrix was usually reported to be a shy and naive person by the people closest to him, he expectedly had doubts regarding his musical abilities.

So, even though he didn’t have many worries about his guitar playing, it would be safe to say that he wasn’t much confident about his vocals. The guitarist could be insecure about his singing voice, but in the end, it didn’t cause much trouble, as he went on to sing some of the most iconic rock anthems of all time.

Yet, the only rocker who doubted their singing wasn’t Jimi. The young Eddie Van Halen also chose to stand out with his riffs rather than his vocals, so he took a step back while recording Van Halen’s eponymous debut in the late ’70s. A few decades later, after Hendrix’s death and Van Halen’s release of the record, a fellow guitarist would express his complaints about the two legends’ keeping their vocals background.

Def Leppard’s Phil Collen beefed a bit about Eddie’s ‘lack of singing’ during a chat with Music Radar in 2015 while naming some of the rock albums that changed his life. The list had names such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, and when picking Van Halen’s iconic debut, he had to point out Eddie’s iconic riffs and step back from the vocals.

The musician thought it was a shame that Eddie didn’t lend his vocals for a few tracks and let us enjoy his singing. The rocker also pointed out that Van Halen wasn’t the only person who had been skeptical of his talent, as Hendrix and Kurt Cobain were also embarrassed by their voices. It was surprising for Collen to see these icons doubting themselves as he believed they had unique voices.

Phil Collen’s statements on Van Halen’s eponymous debut and Eddie’s lacking vocals:

“[All] of it is amazing. I just love the feel of the album. I’m really into players like Michael Schenker, Gary Moore, and guys like that. And Eddie did it to an extreme and so well. It was very pure. If Jimi Hendrix invented the rock guitar, which I think he did, then Eddie was responsible for the next progression.

The only problem was Eddie didn’t sing; it’s a shame because I think you need to sing. Hendrix was embarrassed about his voice, but it was amazing. It made an incredible part of his music. Same with Nirvana: the first time I heard Kurt, I thought he had a really special voice, very pure. It was an expression.”

For decades, Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen influenced fellow rockers and millions of guitar enthusiasts with their remarkable guitar-playing skills. Still, they weren’t the most eager ones in the room when it came to lending their vocals and singing lead. However, in the end, Hendrix overcame his fear and sang for his records. Eddie Van Halen wasn’t as enthusiastic, as he only sang lead once in the Van Halen track, ‘How Many, Say I.’