When Eddie Van Halen’s portion of the Grammys’ “In Memoriam” segment included just a short clip of the Van Halen guitarist performing in archival footage and a lone guitar perched onstage, a lot of fans wondered why he didn’t get the same treatment as Kenny Rogers, Little Richard, John Prine or Gerry and the Pacemakers’ Gerry Marsden at Sunday’s show. According to a tweet Monday (March 15), Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen was expecting something more substantial too.
Wolfgang said he was asked by the Recording Academy to play “Eruption” — which is what his dad was playing in the footage shown Sunday night — but declined. “I don’t think anyone could have lived up to what my father did for music but himself,” he wrote. What he didn’t realize is that his dad’s brief moment would be surrounded by full tribute performances from Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak (Little Richard), Lionel Richie (Kenny Rogers), Brandi Carlile (John Prine) and Brittany Howard (Marsden).
“It was my understanding that there would be an ‘In Memoriam’ section where bits of songs were performed by legendary artists that had passed,” Wolfgang wrote. “I didn’t realize that they would only show Pop for 15 seconds in the middle of 4 full performances for others we had lost.
“What hurt the most was that he wasn’t even mentioned when they talked about artists we lost in the beginning of the show,” he added. “I know rock isn’t the most popular genre right now, (and the academy does seem a bit out of touch) but I think it’s impossible to ignore the legacy my father left on the instrument, the world of rock, and music in general. There will never be another innovator like him.”
Wolfgang says his dad probably wouldn’t have even cared about the supposed snub since the music was all he cared about. “I’m not looking to start some kind of hate parade here, I just wanted to explain my side,” he wrote. “I know Pop would probably just laugh it off and say ‘Ehh who gives a sh–?’ He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn’t matter.” Wolfgang concluded his note by saying he would like to have a conversation with the Grammys “not only about the legacy of my father, but the legacy of the Rock genre moving forward.”
Eddie Van Halen earned one Grammy Award in his lifetime: best hard rock performance with vocal for Van Halen’s 1991 album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. Van Halen died Oct. 6 after a battle with cancer.
See Wolfgang’s statement below, and revisit Eddie Van Halen’s full “Eruption” solo too.
— Wolf Van Halen 🐺 🚐 🙌 (@WolfVanHalen) March 15, 2021