Remembering Eddie Van Halen: The Real Guitar Hero

Eddie Van Halen, the founder of the hard rock band Van Halen, passed away Tuesday of cancer at the age of 65.

Born Edward Van Halen on January 26, 1955, in the Netherlands, he moved with his family to California in the early 1960s. While growing up in Pasadena, California, Eddie and Alex Van Halen took classical piano lessons, playing mostly improvised classical, and Eddie, in particular, proved to be an early musical standout. As teenagers, the brothers switched instruments, Eddie to guitar and Alex to drums, leaving Classical music behind and spearheading a rock band called Mammoth.

He formed Van Halen in 1974 with his brother Alex. Eddie’s quick-fingered guitar riffs and David Lee Roth’s onstage antics caught the attention of KISS guitarist Gene Simmons in 1977.

Simmons discovered Van Halen at a local club in 1977 and financed and recorded the band’s first recording session. Not long afterwards, Eddie Van Halen and his band Van Halen signed a record deal with Warner Brothers, and in 1978, the band put out its self-titled debut album, which featured the hit “Runnin’ With the Devil.”

The combination of Eddie’s incredible guitar riffs and Roth’s vocal antics, launched the album to platinum status within six months of its release.

Some Van Halen’s most-known songs include “Jump” and “Panama” on the 1984 album “1984”. “Runnin’ With the Devil” and “Erupon 1978’s “Van Halen”.

The album “1984” also showcased the now classic mega-hit “Hot For Teacher”. The videos for “Jump”, “Panama”, “Hot For Teacher,” each lit up MTV.

During his time in the industry, Eddie Van Halen teamed up with Michael Jackson for the guitar solo in Jackson’s hit song “Beat it”, and also welcomed a new frontman in 1985, by the name of Sammy Hagar.

If I took the time to list all of Van Halen’s hits through the years, we’d be here all day. When people discuss the greatest guitarist in Rock history the two names that are seemingly always in the conversation are Slash, Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Allen Collins, among others.

It’s safe to say that Mr. Eddie Van Halen has cemented his place in Rock and Roll history.

Rest In Peace, Eddie, we love you brother.

Source: Twitter

The Final Curtain Call: New York Mets Legend Tom Seaver Passes Away at the Age of 75

For two decades, Tom Seaver had a rather imposing presence on Major League mounds all over this great country. Perhaps, no single player is more identified with one team than Tom Seaver is with the New York Mets. 

It goes without saying that George Thomas “Tom” Seaver was a fearless competitor on the diamond, and everything he did in his life, on the field or off, he did it with purpose and poise. Seaver helped turn baseball’s “lovable losers” into World Series champions in 1969, when the Mets captured their first World Series trophy behind the fiery Fresno, California native. 

During his 20-year career in the Major Leagues, Tom Seaver spent time with the New York Mets (1967-77, 1983), Cincinnati Reds, (1977-1982), Chicago White Sox (1984-1986), and the Boston Red Sox (1986). 

Seaver was 12-time All-Star, and finished his Cooperstown-caliber career with a record (311-205) with a 2.86 ERA, and 3,640 strikeouts in 4,783 innings pitched. 

Tom Seaver known as “Tom Terrific” or “The Franchise” started 647 games in his career, with 231 complete games, 61 shutouts, a 1.121 WHIP, one save, 1,521 earned runs, 1,390 walks, and a winning percentage of .603. 

Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson, who managed Seaver with the Cincinnati Reds once said “My idea of managing is giving the ball to Tom Seaver and sitting down and watching him work.” 

On April 22, 1970, Seaver set a Major League record by striking out 19 San Diego Padres, 10-consecutive, in a game that the Mets would go on to win 2-1. 

From 1967-1977, “The Franchise” was selected to 10 All-Star teams, led the league in strikeouts five times, put together five 20-win seasons, threw five one-hitters, and won three Cy Young Awards. 

In 1978, after several near-misses during his career, Tom no-hit the Cardinals and in 1981 became the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to record 3,000 strikeouts. He was a member of National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 1992. 

Seaver officially retired from the game of baseball during the 1987 season. According to baseballhall.org, George Thomas “Tom” Seaver aka. “The Franchise” passed away, on August 31, 2020 from complications of Lewy body dementia and COVID-19. 

In 1991, he was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which returned in 2012, leading to Bell’s palsy and memory loss. 

Rest in Peace Tom, you’ll never be forgotten.

Source: New York Mets Twitter

‘If You’re Gonna Play the Game Boy, You Gotta Learn to Play it Right’ Saying See You Later to The Gambler

Saturday morning, I received the notification that “The Gambler” Kenny Rogers had passed on to Heaven at the age of 81.

Rogers, a Houston, Texas native pumped out hit-after-hit during his 60-year career as a country music singer.

A few of those hits were “The Gambler”, “Islands in the Stream”, a duet with Dolly Parton, “Coward of The County”, “Golden Years” and so many more.

Kenny was active as a country music singer from 1957 to 2017. Throughout his career he shared stages with some of country music’s biggest names.

See you later Gambler, you will definitely be missed but never forgotten.

Picture: Rifnote

Willie Nelson: The Only True Outlaw Left in Country Music

It has been debated for years, just how many true outlaws are left in Country music and it’s without a doubt that when discussing this topic you’re going to mention an 86-year-old with long, braided, silver, silky hair from Abbott, Texas, named Willie Nelson. There’s a strong possibility that he just might be the only true outlaw left in the country music genre. You see, the rest of these people, mainly the newer self proclaimed ‘artists’ think they are outlaws and love to sing songs written and performed by people way before their time. But with Willie Nelson, he is an outlaw. There’s absolutely no doubt about it. Some of these new people write songs about stuff that didn’t actually live through or witness. With Nelson, there’s no doubt that he’s actually lived through or witnessed the things that he has written about in songs. Willie has lived through the Great Depression, both World Wars, the Vietnam War, Korean War and so much more. In fact, Willie Nelson served this country out of high school and then attended Baylor University after his time in the armed forces. I can’t even begin to imagine all of the things that Willie has seen over the past 86 years. When the news broke early Thursday morning of Willie Nelson cancelling all of his 2019 tour dates because of a breathing problem. I was literally speechless. It got me to thinking ‘Just how much more can this man take?’ How many outlaws are left in country music?’ Willie has had his fair share of health problems in the past, including pneumonia, a few years back. People these days don’t take time to think about those who made country music what it used to be, what many people, like myself still consider real country music, like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Johnny Paycheck and so many more people. What this generation considers ‘country’ isn’t country at all. Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Florida-Georgia Line etc. are more of pop artists than country. You can get mad if you want, because I really don’t care what you think. That’s not what people like Willie intended it to be. You can say ‘Luke Bryan, Florida-Georgia Line, Luke Combs etc. are country’ all you want. But I along with so many others will quickly tell that it most definitely is not country music. It’s time we start paying attention to folks like Willie and appreciate their music like y’all do these pop artists that consider themselves ‘country artists’. We need to buy the old timers’ music, listen to it and appreciate it because we won’t have them much longer. I never have understood why people start buying the old music long after the artists have passed on. Why can’t we buy it while they’re still alive? Because as Willie says ‘the best I can tell the world’s gone to Hell.’ Folks, whether you like it or not, Willie Nelson really is the only true outlaw left in country music.

The Long, Winding Road to Recovery

Just three months ago, back on April 2, 2019, just hours after attending and throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of the Atlanta Braves home-opener against the Chicago Cubs, Braves fans all across the country were shell-shocked at the news that they would receive next. Bobby Cox, the man who led Atlanta to an unprecedented 14-consecutive National League pennants, had suffered a stroke. But being the strong-willed man that Bobby is, he managed to make his way to a neighbor’s house before calling an ambulance. Since then, Braves Country has worried, prayed and wondered about the condition of the beloved long-time skipper. On Thursday, June 20, 2019, Bobby Cox was able to go back to his Marietta, Georgia home. Which was a huge sigh of relief for millions of people, including myself. The news was broken by Ken Rodriguez, a sports news director at a local Georgia television station. Though Cox was left with paralysis on his right side and the inability to speak for a number of months, the larger-than-life figure has not slowed down. Thursday, Cox was speaking, hitting a ball off of a tee and throwing the baseball with his therapy dog as well as talking about the Braves. Though Cox hasn’t been at the helm of Atlanta since 2012, he said “I watch every game.” Bobby also has high hopes for himself as does all of Braves Country. Cox also said “I hope to be there for Spring Training.” His wife, Pamela Cox said “I think the biggest frustration for him is his speech, but it will get better with time.” Cox then looked at his wife and smiled. Bobby has been kept constant company since April 2nd by his beloved grandchildren. “They light up a room.” He said with tears in his twinkling eyes. If there’s one word that describes Bobby Cox, it’s “fighter”. Get well soon, we love you Bobby!

On The Road Again: Willie Nelson Is Still Touring at 86

Most of the time, when people get into their 80’s, especially mid-to-late 80s, people start slowing down a little as they become somewhat of a homebody and in some cases, they lose memory as Alzheimer’s starts to set in along with dementia. But for one country music icon, that’s far from the case. On this day 86 years ago in 1933, the world welcomed in what some may call a rebel, an outlaw or an icon. But my favorite description of Abbott, Texas native, Willie Nelson, is an iconic national treasure. His golden voice echoes through arenas and venues all over the world. One of the venues is at the historic Grand Ole Opry. Nelson started singing in 1956 as a young man in his early 20’s. However, he didn’t break onto the national scene until 1972. People still haven’t discovered Willie’s to living, but whatever it is, it’s working as he is still touring states and venues at age 86. I saw him in concert in Montgomery last November and that concert was the best concert I’ve ever had the opportunity to attend. Here’s to 86 years of the iconic treasure that is Willie Nelson.