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Wolfgang Van Halen reveals he was asked to play Eruption at the Grammys in tribute to his father, but declined

[L-R] Wolfgang Van Halen and Eddie Van Halen
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Wolfgang Van Halen has taken to Twitter to vent his disappointment at the Recording Academy's “15-second” tribute to his father, Eddie Van Halen.

During the In Memoriam segment at the 63rd Grammy Awards – which were held on Sunday (March 14) – the late guitar icon was highlighted for a few seconds, with his tribute including a lone EVH electric guitar on stage and archive footage of a live solo.

In tweets following the ceremony, Wolfgang reveals he was asked by the Recording Academy to perform Van Halen classic Eruption, though he declined the invitation.

“I don't think anyone could have lived up to what my father did for music but himself,” he explains.

He continues: “It was my understanding that there would be an 'In Memoriam' section where bits of songs were performed for legendary artists that had passed. I didn't realize that they would only show Pop for 15 seconds in the middle of four full performances for others we had lost.

“What hurt the most was that he wasn't even mentioned when they talked about artists we lost in the beginning of the show.

“I know rock isn't the most popular genre right now, (and the Academy does seem a bit out of touch), but I think it's impossible to ignore the legacy my father left on the instrument, the world of rock, and music in general. There will never be another innovator like him.”

Wolfgang goes on to share that he would be willing to collaborate with the Recording Academy in future to ensure rock music is properly represented.

“I'm not looking to start some kind of hate parade here, I just wanted to explain my side,” he says. “I know Pop would probably just laugh it off and say, 'Ehh who gives a shit?' He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn't matter.

“I'd love to get the opportunity to speak with The Recording Academy not only about the legacy of my father, but the legacy of the Rock genre moving forward.”

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Wolfgang's comments follow several other high-profile rock names who have voiced their discontent at the tribute.

Radio personality Eddie Trunk wrote: “So in a more than 3 hour show, with 5 months to prepare, this is all [the Grammys] could muster for one of the most iconic [and] impactful artists in music history... they reached new levels of shame & disrespect. I am besides myself.”

Former Van Halen vocalist Gary Cherone added: “Maybe an Artist that reimagined how one plays an instrument, who continues to influence generations of musicians and, literally changed the course of rock ‘n’ roll deserves more than fifteen seconds at the Grammys?”

Aside from the drama surrounding Eddie Van Halen's subdued tribute, this year's Grammys were a resounding success for guitar-playing acts, with H.E.R., Thundercat, The Strokes and Body Count – to name a few – all bagging awards.

Sam Roche

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.