What would have been Eddie Van Halen's 66th birthday today, January 26th, was marked with the unveiling of a giant mural outside of Guitar Center's Sunset Strip store in Hollywood, Ca.
The 17 foot by 105 mural was painted by Robert Vargas and depicts Eddie playing his signature red, white and black Frankenstrat guitar and covers the store's rear wall.
Vargas had this to say, "Eddie was one of my creative heroes. 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."
Jean-Claude Escudie, Guitar Center Category Manager, added, "Eddie Van Halen was a truly monumental force in rock music. He made lead guitar playing popular when it might have been slipping away into punk and new wave minimalist territory, and then basically the entire 80s hard rock scene followed in his wake.
"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.
"Besides that, sometimes people forget that he was an immigrant and multi-racial, so in so many ways his story is the story of the American experience."