Eddie Van Halen’s son ‘hurt’ by Grammys tribute to his late father

Eddie Van Halen’s son has said he felt “hurt” that the Grammy Awards did not pay a greater tribute to his late father, saying it is “impossible” to ignore his legacy.

Wolfgang Van Halen said he turned down an offer by the Recording Academy to play Eruption, his father’s famous guitar solo, as he did not think he could live up to the original.

However, he thought the In Memoriam section of the ceremony on Sunday would still include a more in-depth tribute.

Eddie Van Halen, Michael Anthony, Alex Van Halen, Sammy Hagar of Van Halen at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards September 05, 1991 Credit: Ralph Dominguez/MediaPunch /IPX/AP
Image:Van Halen (left) with his bandmates at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1991 Pic: Ralph Dominguez/MediaPunch /IPX/AP
Wolfgang Van Halen and Eddie Van Halen on stage at Ak-Chin Pavillion in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2015. Pic: AP
Image:Wolfgang Van Halen on stage with his father in 2015. Pic: AP

Little Richard, Kenny Rogers, John Prine and Gerry Marsden were all honoured with extended tributes, with performances from Bruno Mars, Chris Martin, Lionel Richie and Brandi Carlile.

Other stars who died in the last 12 months, including influential guitarist Eddie, appeared briefly on a screen.

The star died of cancer in October, aged 65, following a “long and arduous battle” with the disease, Wolfgang said at the time.

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In his statement on the Grammys, the 30-year-old said he expected a larger tribute to his father, who was the creative force behind the band he gave his name to.

Posting on social media, he said: “The GRAMMYS asked me to play Eruption for the ‘In Memoriam’ section and I declined. I don’t think anyone could have lived up to what my father did for music but himself.

“It was my understanding that there would be an ‘In Memoriam’ section where bits of songs were performed for legendary artists that had passed. I didn’t realise 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. 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.”

Celebrities we said goodbye to in 2020

Celebrities we said goodbye to in 2020

Despite his disappointment, Wolfgang, a bass guitar player, said he did not want to start a “hate parade” against the Grammys.

He said his father would have laughed off the perceived snub.

“I’m not looking to start some kind of hate parade here, I just wanted to explain my side,” he said. “I know Pop would probably just laugh it off and say ‘Ehh who gives a s***?’ He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn’t matter.

“I’d love to get the opportunity to speak with The Recording Academy not only about the legacy of my father, but the legacy of the Rock genre moving forward.”

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Sky News has contacted the Recording Academy, the body which oversees the Grammys, for comment.

The organisation has also been also criticised by fans of Glee actress Naya Rivera for not including her in its In Memoriam segment.

The Glee cast was nominated for the best pop performance by a duo or group Grammy in 2011, for their performance of Don’t Stop Believin’.

Rivera drowned during a boat trip in California in July 2020.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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