Eruption (instrumental)

Last updated
Song by Van Halen
from the album Van Halen
ReleasedFebruary 10, 1978
Genre Instrumental rock, [1] hard rock [2]
Label Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s) Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen
Producer(s) Ted Templeman

"Eruption" is an instrumental rock [1] guitar solo performed by Eddie Van Halen. It is widely considered one of the greatest guitar solos of all time. [3] [4] It segues into "You Really Got Me" on the album Van Halen , and the two songs are usually played together by radio stations. The song was also released as the b-side to the "Runnin' with the Devil" single.


"Eruption" starts with a short accompanied intro with Alex Van Halen on drums and Michael Anthony on bass. The highlight of the solo is the use of two-handed tapping. "Eruption" was played on the Frankenstrat, with a MXR Phase 90, an Echoplex, a Univox echo unit and a 1968 Marshall 1959 Super Lead tube amp. The Sunset Sound studio reverb room was also used to add reverb. The Frankenstrat was tuned down a half-step. "Eruption" begins in the key of A flat and ends on an E flat note that is a twelfth fret, 6th string harmonic processed through a Univox EC-80 echo unit.


The "Eruption" introduction is based on the "Let Me Swim" introduction by Cactus. [5] After the intro, an E-flat major quotation of the "Etude No. 2" by Rodolphe Kreutzer is heard. The end section begins with a series of rapid two-handed tapping triads that have a classical like structure and eventually finishes with a repeated classical cadence followed by sound effects generated by a Univox EC-80 echo unit. [1]

The piece that would later be named "Eruption" had existed as part of Van Halen's stage act at least as far back as 1975, when it featured no tapping. [6] "Eruption" popularized the tapping trend of the '80s. Although one-handed tapping (hammer-ons and pull-offs) had been previously done by many guitarists, "Eruption" introduced two-handed tapping to the mainstream popular rock audience. Previously, Baroque-like tapping had been recorded by Steve Hackett of Genesis in 1971/1972.

Initially, "Eruption" was not considered as a track for the Van Halen album as it was just a guitar solo Eddie performed live in the clubs. But Ted Templeman overheard it in the studio as Eddie was rehearsing it for a club date at the Whisky a Go Go and decided to include it on the album. Eddie recalled, "I didn't even play it right. There's a mistake at the top end of it. To this day, whenever I hear it, I always think, 'Man, I could've played it better.'" [7]

"Spanish Fly", an acoustic guitar solo on Van Halen II , can be viewed as a nylon-string version of "Eruption", expanding on similar techniques. Similarly, it was suggested by Templeman for inclusion on the album after he heard Eddie Van Halen playing a classical guitar. In March 2005, Q magazine placed "Eruption" at number 29 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. "Eruption" has been named the 2nd greatest guitar solo by Guitar World magazine [8] .



Guitar World United States100 Greatest Guitar Solos2 [8]
Q United Kingdom100 Greatest Guitar Tracks200529[ citation needed ]
Rolling Stone United States100 Greatest Guitar Tracks20086[ citation needed ]


  1. 1 2 3 Dodds, Kevin (October 11, 2011). Edward Van Halen: A Definitive Biography. iUniverse Publishing. p. 39. ISBN   1462054803.
  2. Larson, Thomas E. (2014). History of Rock and Roll. Kendall Hunt. p. 207. ISBN   978-1-4652-3886-3.
  3. "Poll Results: Eddie Van Halen's "Eruption" Tops Readers' List of the …". 18 December 2013. Archived from the original on 18 December 2013.
  4. "50 greatest guitar solos of all time - NME". 11 November 2017. Archived from the original on 11 November 2017.
  5. "Carmine Appice: 'Eddie Van Halen Seems To Be Out Of His Tree Right No…". 11 November 2017. Archived from the original on 11 November 2017.
  6. "YouTube".
  7. "Top '80s Songs from American Hard Rock Band Van Halen". 11 November 2017. Archived from the original on 11 November 2017.
  8. 1 2 "50 Greatest Guitar Solos".