LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 17: Musician Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen performs onstage during the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

As we celebrate Eddie Van Halen’s birthday today, I thought I’d take a minute and share what I think are the highlights of the legends thickest, nastiest, most ripping guitar riffs.

Instead of posting the videos where you just see the album cover and hear the track, I posted some live videos to listen to Eddie’s playing in the raw. So good!


  • Unchained

    This one is a no-brainer to me. Eddie at his best! This has to be a riff that every guitar player wished they wrote.

  • Poundcake

    From the Sammy era, this song rips. I love the use of the drill on his guitar. Only Eddie could pull that off without making it sound silly. Alex’s drumming on the song is excellent as well.

  • Somebody Get Me A Doctor

    Whenever I play this song of RIFF, the speakers in the studio don’t go loud loud enough. Just a total jam!

  • Mean Street

    The tapping. The ripping. The talent! “Lord, strike that poor boy down” – I’ve always loved when Eddie’s guitar slams out of that line. Such a great song!

  • Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love

    I mean, what a guitar song! EVH giving a master class.

  • Summer Nights

    I’ve always loved this song, maybe because of how it makes me feel. How doesn’t need some summer nights right about now? Great riff, fun song!

  • Cabo Wabo

    This song automatically puts you in a warmer place. Eddie slays it!

  • Running With The Devil

    Any song that makes you whip out the air guitar, is ok in my book. That crunchy, so EVH riff is hard to beat.

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