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Slash, Kirk Hammett and Tom Morello pay tribute to EVH at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2020 induction ceremony

[L-R] Slash, Kirk Hammett and Tom Morello
(Image credit: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Gibson / Matthew Baker/Getty Images / Ollie Millington/Redferns)

The 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place virtually over the weekend, where plenty of air time was reserved for tributes to Eddie Van Halen.

During the In Memoriam segment of the show, Slash, Kirk Hammett and Tom Morello took to the virtual stage to remember Van Halen's lasting impact on the world of guitar.

Van Halen passed away in October after a lengthy battle with throat cancer, prompting a widespread outpouring of grief from the guitar community.

Slash called the late guitar icon a “tremendously gifted musician” with a “completely unique” playing style and sound.

He went on: “I don’t think there’s anybody that’s picked up the guitar since 1978 that hasn’t been touched in some way by Eddie Van Halen’s influence. I’m going to miss his playing and I’m going to miss him as a friend.”

Metallica's Kirk Hammett added: “Not since Jimi Hendrix had there been a guitar player that had so much impact, and was so inspiring to me.

“He just explored the most simplest thing – a harmonic on his string – and brought it into this realm of technique that no-one even thought was possible. He was just, like, from a different planet.”

“He had the kind of talent that maybe comes around once a century,” Tom Morello commented, touting him as the “Mozart of our generation”.

The RATM guitarist continued: “Eddie Van Halen inspired me to play 20,000 hours, to try to get within 100 miles of his inspired mastery of the electric guitar.”

This year’s Rock Hall inductees included Nine Inch Nails, T. Rex, Depeche Mode, The Doobie Brothers, Whitney Houston and the Notorious B.I.G.

A number of artists, including St. Vincent and Dave Grohl, recorded covers of Nine Inch Nails classics in celebration of Trent Reznor and co's induction. 

The ceremony is re-watchable on HBO Max (opens in new tab).

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Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).