Edward Lodewijk Van Halen (January 26, 1955 – October 6, 2020) was a Dutch-American musician, songwriter, producer, and inventor. He was the main songwriter and lead guitarist of the American rock band Van Halen, which he co-founded in 1972 with his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, bassist Mark Stone, and singer David Lee Roth. He was best known for popularizing the tapping guitar solo technique, allowing rapid arpeggios to be played with two hands on the fretboard. In 2012, he was voted number one in a Guitar World magazine reader’s poll for “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
Born on January 26, 1955, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Edward Lodewijk van Halen was the son of Jan van Halen and Eugenia van Halen (née van Beers). Jan was a Dutch clarinetist, saxophonist, and pianist, and Eugenia was an Indo (Eurasian) from Rangkasbitung on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). The family eventually resettled in Nijmegen.
In February 1962, the Van Halen family moved from the Netherlands to the United States, settling in Pasadena, California. Both Eddie and his older brother, Alex van Halen, were naturalized as U.S. citizens. The brothers learned to play the piano as children starting at the age of six. They commuted from Pasadena to San Pedro to study with an elderly piano teacher, Stasys Kalvaitis.