Nancy Wilson bought Eddie Van Halen an acoustic guitar after he told her he didn’t own one

Eddie Van Halen and Nancy Wilson
(Image credit: Ross Marino/Getty Images / Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

We’ve witnessed scores of tributes to Eddie Van Halen since the guitarist passed away on October 6 after a long battle with cancer.

Now Heart guitarist Nancy Wilson has offered her own rather sweet Eddie Van Halen story in an interview with Dave Lawrence .

During the discussion Wilson revealed that her forthcoming solo album, due for release later this year, will feature an instrumental titled For Edward, and went on to relate a meeting between the two that inspired the song.

"I was the first one to ever give him an acoustic guitar," Wilson said. "When we were touring with those guys in the '80s, he was like, 'I like how you play that acoustic.' And I said, 'Well, why don't you play more acoustic?' And he goes, 'Well, I don't have an acoustic.' And I said, 'You don't have an acoustic? What?'"

Wilson continued, “And so I went and got him one out of my stash and I gave it to him. And early the next morning, in the hotels, back when people would ring your room, he rang my room and he played for me this beautiful piece of acoustic guitar instrumental music on the phone.

"I was so touched, and it was so beautiful, it was one of the prettiest things I'd ever heard. So I tried to return the favor by making a beautiful little tribute to him."

Lawrence responded to Wilson’s story by commenting, “What a double bill – Heart opening for VH.” 

To which Wilson replied, “Yeah. There were those days where you'd go down to the bar. The Van Halen brothers, they won the prize of just how to be totally raucous and totally out of control and drunk. They'd just be, like, yelling and cavorting all over the room and all over each other, fisticuffs would bust out and then two seconds later, they'd be hugging, like, 'I love you, man.'

“They were out of control. They were the first ones to ever introduce us to the kamikaze – the vodka with lime or whatever."

Wilson will be honored alongside Amy Lee of Evanescence and Cherie Currie at the 2021 She Rocks Awards event. 

The virtual awards ceremony – which streams at 6:30pm PT on January 22, 2021 – is open to the public and will be hosted by Lzzy Hale of Halestrom.

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.