Eddie Van Halen Plays ‘Amsterdam’ Riff Years Before Release in Rare Video
A newly uncovered video shows Eddie Van Halen in his 5150 Studios at some point in the mid-1980s working on the guitar parts for Van Halen's "Amsterdam," a song which wouldn't publicly emerge until years later on the rock group's 1995 album, Balance.
Shared by fansite Van Halen Brazil on Sunday (June 6), the clip joins another rare Van Halen video that recently surfaced. That same day, previously unseen 1981 footage of the band performing at a prehistoric-themed Italian park among large sculptures of dinosaurs finally put an end to VH fans' longtime questions about the odd gig, which had until now remained a mysterious performance only documented in photos.
Just a handful of years later, Eddie was in his home studio, hashing out a riff — it's an occurrence that certainly wasn't uncommon around the 5150 compound. Watch the video of EVH hammering out "Amsterdam" in the studio down toward the bottom of this post.
"Never before seen footage of Eddie Van Halen playing the song 'Amsterdam' [in] 5150 Studios," an introduction at the top of the clip explains. "The year is 1985, ten years prior to the official release of the song on Balance."
However, the precise year the video was filmed is in dispute. While Van Halen Brazil put the footage at 1985, Ultimate Classic Rock surmised that it more likely came from some point in late '86 or '87, based on Eddie's hairstyle and the "Team Jams National Champs 1986" jersey he's wearing.
Regardless, the footage evinces further proof of Eddie's eager work ethic in the recording studio, especially when it came to writing memorable guitar riffs. On top of that, it serves as a bittersweet reminder of the massive talent we lost when the Van Halen guitarist died last year at the age of 65, his death signifying the end of the influential rock group.
Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's 30-year-old son and a former Van Halen bassist, is currently carrying the rock torch with his own outfit, Mammoth WVH. The outfit's debut LP comes out this Friday (June 11).