"Best of" Countdowns

Top 6 Eddie Van Halen solos

It is no easy task to try and rank Eddie Van Halen’s best guitar solos of all time, but we recently came across a countdown that tried to do just that. Well, we are sharing with you the top 6 and we want to know what you think about each one. Any surprises? Do you agree with number 1? Tell us below. Alright, jump forward and see which solos make this cool countdown. 6) “Ice Cream Man” This is a great example of how Van Halen can take a song by somebody else and completely make it his own. The solo begins with an other-worldly burst of notes before using a tremelo dive bomb to set up a boogie shuffle through the rest of the solo.The frenetic soloing is a nice contrast to the acoustic guitar main section — and always provides an adrenalized transition in concert. During one minute-long stretch there is 47 seconds of sweet soloing that is guaranteed to satisfy any Van Halen fan.The solo uncoils at 1:45 in the video. 5) “Hear About it Later” Set up by eight seconds of bass and drums-only lead-in, this solo cuts through your speakers like a hot knife through butter. Pace-changing, tapping, pinched harmonics — I just know the solo always makes me feel good when I hear it.The solo jumps in at 2:42 in the video. 4) “Mean Street” The lead track off “Fair Warning,” the selection of “Mean Street” speaks for itself. The song’s initial 42-second muted-palm slapping and tapping double-hand sequence once again sent guitarists scampering to figure out what he was doing. The opening eventually gives way to one of Eddie’s best overall riffs. The mid-song solo is also brilliantly set up with 20 seconds of setup riffing before the solo begins with a bent pinched harmonic from hell. A perfect combination of melodicism and speed, this is a vintage Van Halen solo in every way — except for the lack of tapping.The first solo opens the song so listen from the beginning in the video. 3) “Hot for Teacher” I tried to stay away from overplayed hits on my list — but this blistering 35-second solo — made all the more memorable by the vision of Eddie strolling down a long line of school library tables in the popular music video — just can’t be denied. Exhilarating in every sense.The solo doesn’t feel tardy at the 3:33 mark in the video. 2) “Beat It” (Michael Jackson) OK, a slight wild card here, but it was recorded during the Roth era, after all, and to me exhibits Eddie’s true greatness. Without any pre-planning, Eddie showed up in the studio and, after reorganizing the rhythm part playing underneath him, cut two spontaneous solos. To me, the “Beat It” solo is 32 seconds of unadulterated brilliance. This song — buoyed by the amazing solo — literally helped Michael Jackson cross over to a new audience and propelled “Thriller” to one of the two best-selling albums of all time. As for me, I can’t help but wonder what that second solo sounded like.The solo takes flight at 3:10 in the video. 1) “Eruption” No surprise here. One of those songs where you can’t help but remember where you were when you first heard it. A true “Back to Future” experience. I know I am not alone in saying that this guitar solo literally changed my entire musical listening habits but it also completely rocked the musical landscape in general. When Van Halen performs this piece in concert Saturday — broken up and interspersed with many of his other famous instrumentals, you can bet the crowd will watch in rapt awe. As it should be. Listen to this guitar masterpiece right from the beginning in the video. To see what other EVH solos made the countdown, check out Herald Extra.

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