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Eddie Van Halen was a rock guitar legend. Some may even say he set the standard. Van Halen died in October at the age of 65 after a battle with throat cancer. So you’d think the Grammys would have given him a major tribute.
Yeah, not even close. It was more like one big freak show, with only a small moment taken to honor music stars who passed away in 2020. That’s probably why Wolfgang Van Halen said he was “hurt” that his father received almost no real tribute at all.
Blink, and you would have missed it.
“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,” Wolfgang wrote on Instagram. “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 realize that they would only show Pop for 15 seconds in the middle of 4 full performances for others we had lost.”
Wolfgang had been playing bass in Van Halen, but said in November there would be no more band without his father.
“What hurt the most was that he wasn’t even mentioned when they talked about artists we lost in the beginning of the show,” Wolfgang wrote. “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, 29, added that he wasn’t trying to make a big thing about it, but merely trying to explain his side of the story.
“I know Pop would probably just laugh it off and say ‘Ehh who gives a s–t? He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn’t matter,” Wolfgang wrote. “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. Thank you.”
But the Grammys is much like the sports world. It does a great job of celebrating itself, even though no one is actually watching. As our Bobby Burack noted, ratings for the Grammys tanked badly. Rock on, dudes.