The Song That Left Eddie Van Halen In Tears
Musical talent seems to be running in the Van Halen family. Eddie and Alex Van Halen’s father, Jan Van Halen, was a jazz pianist back in the Netherlands. When the family arrived in the United States after leaving their homeland, the Van Halen brothers decided to follow in their father’s footsteps and create music. As a young musician, Eddie Van Halen was awarded first place in numerous music competitions as a pianist. The rocker’s parents wanted him to continue practicing piano, but he preferred another instrument.
At some point, Eddie was drawn to rock music, and the genre’s influence encouraged the brothers to seek out new instruments. Alex initially chose to play guitar as Eddie took his chance with drums. However, the Van Halens switched instruments after Eddie heard his older brother’s drumming. After he started to play guitar, the rest followed. As mentioned before, the tendency to compose music was, in a way, the Van Halen legacy.
Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen followed his father and uncle’s path. He started his journey by playing drums, just like his father did. Later on, however, he decided to switch to bass. Wolfgang then performed with his father on stage and recorded a studio album with Van Halen. The bassist ultimately chose to pursue a solo career, and he created a song that made Eddie very emotional.
Which Song Made Eddie Van Halen Tear Up?
While Wolfgang worked and performed with his father on numerous projects, he also followed up on some solo plans. Apart from being the bassist of Van Halen after replacing Michael Anthony, Wolfgang also collaborated with Alter Bridge and Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti. In 2021, he released his debut studio album under the name Mammoth WVH. The self-titled record was well received as the audience praised the young Van Halen’s talents.
Eddie significantly impacted his son’s debut project as Wolfgang channeled his pain into his music. After his father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2017, the young musician suffered greatly as he became aware that his remaining time with Eddie might be short. Wolfgang focused on music to cope with this painful realization and composed the song, ‘Distance.’ It was the opening track on Mammoth WVH’s debut album.
WVH had revealed that the track was about imagining his life without his dad. To him, Eddie wasn’t just a father but also his best friend and bandmate. When Wolfgang was asked by HardDrive Radio how his family reacted to ‘Distance,’ he disclosed that the song touched everyone, especially his father. As it turns out, Eddie cried when he heard the song, and Wolfgang wasn’t sure if his tears were because of pride or sadness. For the young Van Halen, his father’s reaction really mattered to him as Eddie understood that the song was about loss.
Wolfgang Van Halen stated:
“It moved everyone I showed it to. I remember when I showed it to dad for the first time, maybe it was out of pride or also just the song in general, he cried when he heard it. I don’t think he was aware of the significance of it for me; he just understood it as a song about loss.”
Eddie Van Halen lost his longtime battle with lung cancer in 2020. It seems that the guitarist’s legacy is in firm hands, with Wolfgang keeping his memory alive through music. The young Van Halen is on a European tour with Mammoth WVH, and he has already signaled that the band’s second record is on the way.
You can listen to ‘Distance’ below.