A technical virtuoso with a rock star’s natural flair, Eddie Van Halen played instantly identifiable electric guitar — so identifiable, in fact, that his namesake band spent decades cycling through styles and lead singers without ever sounding any less like itself.

Van Halen, who died Tuesday at 65, arguably made his instrument the most important voice in Van Halen, which he formed in Pasadena with his older brother, drummer Alex, along with bassist Michael Anthony and frontman David Lee Roth. (Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone later sang with the band.)


For all its instrumental dexterity though, Van Halen behaved — and sold records — like a fun-loving pop group; it never showcased the often-shirtless guitarist’s chops at the expense of providing a good time. Here, in chronological order, are 20 of Eddie’s most memorable moments:

‘You Really Got Me’ (1978)

Van Halen’s first chart hit wasn’t a densely composed original but a cover of