In Memoriam 2020: Remembering Those We Lost In Entertainment

With 2021 finally dawned upon us, it brings a new beginning to what was for sure one of the most tumultuous years in anyone’s recent memory in the year 2020, with a plethora of events that occurred (and many still recurring) that need no repeating. We all know of what went down and what’s going on, things which have spilled over and are still extreme challenges in this new year. In short, 2020 was a year most of, if not all, of us would soon rather forget.

However, what shouldn’t be forgotten are the names of the many luminaries in entertainment that we lost last year, also a stunning amount of creatives and well-knowns of seemingly every type and stripe. While in a lot of ways an “in memoriam” list seems rather arbitrary and irrelevant considering the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the United States alone last year during the pandemic and of people who became global martyrs by way of insurrectional behaviors by authoritative figures all across America, a list like this becomes in a way necessary, as it’s important to give the proper respect and final send off to some of the individuals who touched our lives in so many ways, especially during last year, when all forms of entertainment became not only entrenched in its typical “escapism,” but also became a healing balm in a sense, something that helped people push through during the darkest times of necessary state and governmental-enforced bondage on us all. And it is for that reason, that we present some of our heroes, guiding lights, inspirations, and illuminations who left us in 2020.

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Massive Metal Monday: Van Halen “Eruption”
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Is Van Halen a metal band or just a very heavy hard rock band? It’s a debate that’s been raging amongst metalheads ever since the band’s eponymous 1978 debut album, Van Halen, took the rock world by storm. But no one, then or now, could dispute that the band’s then-23-year-old virtuoso guitarist and namesake had turned the world of rock and metal guitar playing on its ear with his beefy tone, flashy and innovative right-hand tapping technique, and unbelievably fast and fluid legato runs.

Nowhere was this more evident than on “Eruption,” the blistering second track of the debut album. Very few instances can be found in modern music where a single moment changed the entire landscape around it. Even fewer can boast of forever altering the way an instrument is played. “Eruption” was a clarion call that would herald the arrival of the new sheriff in town. Eddie Van Halen‘s signature instrumental stands as the centerpiece of every Van Halen performance to this day.

And speaking of this day, it just so happens that today, January 26, 2015, is King Edward’s 60th birthday. So crank up the video clip here below of the man himself performing “Eruption” (along with a portion of “316” and other assorted tastiness) live from Van Halen’s legendary 1986 concert film Live Without A Net.

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Music Deal: Van Halen’s ‘1984’
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Right now, Van Halen‘s 1984 is on sale on CD for only $3.99 and in MP3 format for only $5.00. The CD is an AutoRip, which means it comes with a FREE MP3 version of the album (the purchase of the CD also comes with a $1 Amazon MP3 Credit).

The album, released in the year 1984, was the band’s final effort with charismatic frontman, singer David Lee Roth, before their recent reunion. 1984 spawned the chart-topping hits “Jump,” “Panama,” and “Hot For Teacher” and was their most successful commercial effort with Roth.

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Happy Birthday To Guitarist Extraordinaire Eddie Van Halen

Happy Birthday today to Eddie Van Halen, who remains, at the still young age of 59, considering he’s seemingly been around forever, and indeed, the first Van Halen record was released 35 years ago this year, one of the, if not THE, (in the opinions of many, many guitar heroes globally) greatest guitarists of all time.

Hailing from the Netherlands, and the son of a musical dynamo in his dad, Jan, who played brass instruments and the piano, Eddie Van Halen learned his craft by rote, by “listening and watching” in his own admission. Although his style is a hyperfast, tasteful stream of musical consciousness on the fretboard, it’s interesting to note that he grew up on bands like Cream and Led Zeppelin, who both of course had guitarists that were and still are legends in their own right in Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page respectively, yet neither of those men ever had the kind of technical razzle dazzle aurally manifested like the sounds that came through the amplifiers of Eddie Van Halen.

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$5 MP3 Album Deal: Van Halen’s ‘Van Halen II’
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As part of Amazon’s monthly MP3 album deals, Van Halen‘s Van Halen II is available all this month for only $5. The CD version is also on sale now for only $4.99.

Here’s where I justify the cost: MP3 songs are typically 99 cents each, therefore for Van Halen II to be worth the price, you need at least 5 songs worth having: heavy stuff – “Somebody Get Me A Doctor,” “DOA,” and “Beautiful Girls” BAM! (justify getting the album even at regular price!), but there’s plenty of lighter tracks on the album like “Dance The Night Away,” “Women In Love,” and the cover song “You’re No Good” (which was a hit for Linda Ronstadt in the 1970s).

Still need convincing to shell out $5 of your hard-earned money? Umm, it’s David Lee Roth-era VAN HALEN! It’s guitar virtuoso Eddie Van Halen shredding it up in 1979 — plus, check out his 1-minute classical guitar solo “Spanish Fly”!

This is a must-have album for all lovers of rock and hard rock guitar. For those of you who define the David Lee Roth-era Van Halen by their 1984 hit “Jump,” I beg you to expand your horizons with Van Halen II. On the flip side, if you like their hit “Panama” (who doesn’t?), then Van Halen II is perfect for you.

But sure to check out all 2,000 albums for only $5 each in MP3 format on sale through the end of January!

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