Van Halen's Eruption - a celebration of 33 years in 33 videos

Eddie Van Halen 'erupts' on stage in 1978...long before YouTube!
Eddie Van Halen 'erupts' on stage in 1978...long before YouTube! (Image credit: Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis)

Van Halen's Eruption. Or, more accurately, Eddie Van Halen's Eruption. Barring a short blast of an intro from Alex Van Halen on drums and Michael Anthony on bass, this appropriately named, razzle-dazzle guitar showcase was Eddie's baby all the way.

As let-me-entertain-you star-turns go, Eruption had it all: inventiveness, passion, joy and a whole lot of daring-do. Oh, and that tapping thing, too. Though Eddie has always owned up to the fact that he didn't invent the technique per se, he brought it to the attention of rock's mainstream in a way that was seen as revolutionary. A sonic Shot Heard Round The World.

Thirty-three years after it first appeared on Van Halen's 1978 debut album, it's still turning heads, dropping jaws and causing carpel tunnel syndrome in millions of guitarists who routinely attempt to divine the mystery of its alluring power. Admit it: you've probably tried it yourself.

Yes, you have. We have proof. We've picked a truckload of videos - some are great, others are...well, you'll see - in which amateur guitarists (a fair amount of kids at school talent shows...what's up with that?) go Eruption-crazy. We've got 33 of them, in fact, one for every year Eruption has been driving music store employees the world over insane.

First, here's Eddie himself in a blazing live version, 1994.

Guitarwannabee goes for it, although he does say it's "take two."

Eric rocks out at his school talent show. And yes, he does need that whammy bar.

Ben, the "guitar kid" plays the "baddest" cover ever...EVER!

An 11-year-old shredder puts his own unique spin on Eruption. Did we mention he's only 11?

GuitarHero1961, who calls himself an "old guy," lays it all out.

Tim knows the only way to impress co-workers is by whipping out a lame version of Eruption (he said it, we didn't). He made it extra loud, too, for the guy in the next cubicle.

This "insane" 11-year-old kills on his SG. SGs are big with the young 'uns.

A little Eruption at school always draws a crowd. (Is it just us, or does theevdisciple look a tad old to be a student? Just asking.)

The Cellonator knows Eddie wasn't writing for guitarists alone.

Who says only boys can be guitar heroes? Danna shows everybody how it's done. (Some debate whether she's really playing or not. What say you?)

Twelve-year-old Taylor knocks out Eruption as well as The Kinks' You Really Got Me.

Taylor scores again, this time by playing Eruption backwards. We've never tried this, so we'll take her word for its accuracy. In any event, she got mom to stop ironing.

Mike Miller's instructional video that some call a by-the-numbers yank-fest. You decide.

Eruption on acoustic? Rick's younger brother, on leave from the army, proves you don't need electricity to create sparks.

There's a bit of Twilight Zone in this acoustic rendition...

The unknown guitarist, neo4311, has his A game on for this acoustic workout.

Eruption on piano? Believe it.

Ahhh, the tinkling of the eighty-eights!

Apparently, lots of folks dig EVH sans guitar

Even five-string bassists can get in on the action.

Another five-stringer taps away.

"Many people" have requested this one. Hey, 56,000 ain't bad.

You friend throws down a challenge? Three days of practice is enough.

School talent shows = Eruption.

Geez, do kids do any studying at school anymore?

Your band split? Steackmike has an answer for that.

Eddie covered on an Ibanez Steve Vai Jem7? And what wrong with that?

The school talent shows are alive with the sound of Eruption. These guys kick the Jonas Brothers' butts!

Tyler's got a striped guitar and he's gonna use it!

All comments welcome.

He asks you to be kind, so kind!

Frank's a shred king. He offers lessons, too.

Last but not least...Ukulele Eruption!!

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.