Brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen (the group’s lead guitarist and drummer, respectively) co-founded the Van Halen in 1972 and have remained the only two consistent members throughout its history. After establishing themselves as one of Los Angeles’ most popular live bands, they released their self-titled debut album in 1978. Van Halen has been certified 10x platinum by the RIAA and features some of the band’s best-known songs, including “Runnin’ with the Devil” and “Eruption,” the latter of which is widely considered to be one of the most iconic guitar solos in rock history and popularized tapping.
A year later, the group released Van Halen II, which sold over 5 million copies in the US and launched the singles “Dance the Night Away” and “Beautiful Girls.” Women and Children First was released next in 1981, followed by Fair Warning in 1982 and Diver Down in 1983. Van Halen’s next release, the album 1984, became their most successful to date, selling over 10 million copies in the US and peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart while launching a string of hit singles, including “Panama,” “Hot for Teacher,” and “Jump,” the latter of which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
With their next album 5150, Van Halen reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart on the way to amassing over 6 million in sales. The group repeated the feature in 1988 with OU812, again hitting No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and selling 4 million album copies. The group’s 1991 album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and 1995’s Balance topped the chart as well. Both albums were certified multiplatinum by the RIAA.
Though the Van Halen brothers are best known for their band’s music, Eddie Van Halen has also worked with a number of other artists throughout his career.