Eruption (instrumental)

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Not to be confused with Eruption, a composition of the same name by Dutch band Focus, which appears on their 1971 album Focus II.
Van Halen - Runnin' With The Devil UK single cover.jpg
"Eruption" cover
Song by Van Halen from the album Van Halen
Released February 10, 1978
Recorded 1977
Genre Instrumental rock,[1] heavy metal[2]
Length 1:42
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen
Producer(s) Ted Templeman
Van Halen track listing
"Runnin' with the Devil"
"You Really Got Me"

"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 often 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 1976, 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 song 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.

"Eruption" is also featured in Guitar Hero: Van Halen and is considered as one of the most difficult pieces in the game.

"Eruption" is also used in excerpts for the queue video for the Zombiegeddon house in Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights 20: Twenty Years of Fear.

In the 2015 film Minions, Stuart plays this song after receiving an electric guitar presented by Queen Elizabeth II.



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


  1. ^ a b c 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 50 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time". 2013-09-20. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "NME 50 Greatest Guitar Solos". Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Carmine Appice Interview"
  6. ^ "Eddie Van Halen Solo 1976" on YouTube. Retrieved 2011/12/28.
  7. ^ "Van Halen's 'Eruption' Guitar Solo". Retrieved 2011/12/28.

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