Song by Van Halen

from the album Van Halen

Released February 10, 1978
Recorded 1977
Genre Heavy metal, instrumental rock
Length 1:42
Label Warner Bros.
Writer Eddie Van Halen
Producer Ted Templeman
Van Halen track listing
"Runnin' With the Devil"
"You Really Got Me"

"Eruption" is an instrumental guitar solo by Van Halen from their first album, Van Halen. Written and primarily performed by Eddie Van Halen, this electric guitar solo showcase is considered one of the most influential rock instrumentals of all time, appearing on many 'greatest guitar solos' lists, including a Guitar World poll.[1] On the radio, it is usually played together with "You Really Got Me," which follows the song on the album Van Halen.[2]

"Eruption" starts with a short accompanied introduction with brother Alex Van Halen on drums and Michael Anthony on bass. The highlight of the solo is the use of fretboard tapping. "Eruption" was played on the Frankenstrat, with a phaser. A 1960s Marshall tube amp, an Echoplex, a Univox echo box, and studio plate reverb helped define the distinctive tone of the track. The Frankenstrat was tuned a half-step down from regular guitar tuning. "Eruption" begins in the key of A flat and ends on a E flat note that is a twelfth fret, 6th string harmonic processed through a Univox echo box effect and lowered an octave by an Echoplex.

The "Eruption' introduction is based on "Let Me Swim" by Cactus [3]. Later in the introduction, an E-flat major quotation of the Etude No. 2 by Rodolphe Kreutzer is heard. The piece that would later be named "Eruption" had existed as part of Van Halen's stage act at least as far back as 1976, when it initially featured no tapping. [1] "Eruption" popularized the guitar tapping trend of the 1980s. Although one-handed tapping (hammer-ons and pull-offs) had been previously done by many guitarists, Van Halen introduced two-handed tapping to the mainstream popular rock audience. The main tapping part of Eruption uses a chord structure and style similar to Baroque music. Similarly, Baroque-like tapping had been recorded by Steve Hackett of Genesis in 1971/1972.

Initially, "Eruption" was not considered a song for Van Halen. Eddie Van Halen used it as a studio warm up; however, producer Ted Templeman overheard the solo and asked that it appear as a track 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.'"[4]

"Spanish Fly", an acoustic instrumental 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 also been named the 2nd greatest guitar solo by Guitar World magazine.

The song is featured in Guitar Hero: Van Halen and is considered one of, if not the, most difficult songs in the game.

Accolades[edit | edit source]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Guitar World United States 100 Greatest Guitar Solos 2
Q United Kingdom 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks 2005 29
Rolling Stone United States 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks 2008 6

Video[edit | edit source]


Guitar Hero Van Halen Eruption 100% FC Expert Guitar PiP

Guitar Hero Van Halen: Eruption 100% FC Expert Guitar [PiP]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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