A large mural honoring late-music legend Eddie Van Halen was unveiled Tuesday on the exterior of Guitar Center's flagship store in Hollywood, California, on what would have been Eddie's 66th birthday.
The depiction of the Van Halen guitarist playing his iconic, modified red, white and black 'Frankenstrat' is approximately 17 feet tall and 105 feet wide. It was created by artist Robert Vargas, who offered to donate his creative energy for the project shortly after Eddie's death this past fall.
"Eddie was one of my creative heroes," Vargas said. "When I was young, the debut Van Halen record was the first album I ever owned. He influenced me over the years in so many different ways. As soon as the news hit of his passing, I knew I had to do something creative to memorialize him, and Guitar Center was the obvious venue. Right here on the Sunset Strip, where the band made their bones — I can't think of a better place for this tribute to him, and I thank Guitar Center for giving me the canvas to share it with the world."
Van Halen's early success was largely driven by Eddie's ingenuity on the guitar, which inspired multiple generations of musicians to follow him.
Guitar Center has launching a number of initiatives over the years, recognizing the seismic impact Eddie had on rock music and, inadvertently, on its business.
"Guitar Center saw this first-hand, as generations of lead guitarists have flocked to our stores to try to capture something of what inspires them about Eddie's sound," said GC category manager Jean-Claude Escudie. "Besides that, sometimes people forget that he was an immigrant and multi-racial, so in many ways his story is the story of the American experience."
Eddie died in a Santa Monica hospital on October 6, after a lengthy struggle with lung cancer and related health problems.
Eddie's mural joins a mural of Jimi Hendrix that was unveiled on the building in 2018.
Photo: Getty Images