SALT LAKE CITY — Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen died Tuesday after a long battle with throat cancer. He was 65 years old. He passed away in a hospital in Santa Monica surrounded by family.
It just so happens that exactly 40 years ago, he and his rock band — named "Van Halen" after him and his brother, the co-founder — played the Salt Palace. He and the entire band have left lasting impressions on many.
"The stage would clear and he would just go out by himself and do a solo and go for 20-30 minutes. It was just so captivating and amazing," Allen Handy from the Mick and Allen show on KBER 101 said.
"I tried to wonder what the world of rock would've been like without Eddie. With all the people that copied and were influenced by his style, could you imagine we wouldn't have had rock the same way without him?" said Mick Martin, the other half to the Mick and Allen show.
Both Mick and Allen have met Eddie. Allen met him in the early 90s when he just got into radio. At the Salt Palace, Allen got a chance to talk to Eddie and Alex Van Halen.
"After I pulled my jaw off the floor and got a chance to do this, they were so nice and so cool," Allen said. "My nickname in 5th grade was Van Halen. I went to every one of their shows that came through Salt Lake City. Truly one of my favorite bands, and I loved how they always had fun."
Mick also met Eddie at a concert, where he said the star joked with him. His sarcasm and sense of humor made the conversation so much fun.
Van Halen had 13 number one hits on the Billboard Rock Charts. Songs that left lasting marks on Mick and Allen include Eruption, Dancing in the Street, Everybody Want Some and Jamie's Cryin'.
The conversation with Mick and Allen ended with Allen saying that he always remembered Eddie with a smile on his face. Mick finished with: "In my listening and in my experience, there's nobody better and he's going to be so missed."