Eddie Van Halen, one of the most original and influential guitarists to have rocked the American music scenario, was the lead guitarist and co-founder of the hard rock band, Van Halen. The son of music loving parents, Eddie was forced to learn piano as a youngster which he absolutely loathed. Instead he took to guitar and was hooked—he would spend hours locked up in his room practicing on the instrument. He was a big fan of Eric Clapton and he listened to his records day and night, teaching himself to play every one of Clapton’s solos. Along with his drummer brother Alex, bassist Mark Stone and vocalist David Lee Roth, he formed a band that was initially called Mammoth. After considering several other names, the band members settled on Van Halen as they liked the sound of it. The band got their big break when they were heard by Gene Simmons, the lead guitarist of the band, Kiss. They eventually signed a contract with Warner Brothers and released their self-titled debut album which went on to achieve Diamond status in the U.S. The band released a string of other hit album over the years, as Eddie’s reputation as a phenomenal guitarist soared higher and higher.