Heart’s Nancy Wilson Was First to Gift Eddie Van Halen an Acoustic Guitar
You can count Heart's Nancy Wilson among the musicians looking to pay tribute musically to the late guitar icon Eddie Van Halen. While speaking with All Things Considered's Dave Lawrence, Wilson revealed her upcoming solo album has an instrumental titled "For Edward" and she also shared a past connection with the group when she gifted Eddie an acoustic guitar after learning he didn't have one.
"I was the first one to ever give him an acoustic guitar," recalls Wilson. "When we were touring with those guys [Van Halen] in the '80s, he was, like, 'I like how you play that acoustic.' And I said, 'Well, why don't you play more acoustic?' And he goes, 'Well, I don't have an acoustic.' And I said, 'You don't have an acoustic? What?'"
Wilson says she went to her stash of guitars and found one to give to Eddie. "Early the next morning, in the hotels, back when people would ring your room, he rang my room and he played for me this beautiful piece of acoustic guitar instrumental music on the phone," says Wilson. "I was so touched, and it was so beautiful, it was one of the prettiest things I'd ever heard. So I tried to return the favor by making a beautiful little tribute to him."
Looking back on those days of sharing stages with Van Halen, Nancy adds, "There were those days where you'd go down to the bar. The Van Halen brothers, they won the prize of just how to be totally raucous and totally out of control and drunk. They'd just be, like, cavorting all over the room and all over each other, and fisticuffs would bust out, and then, two seconds later, they'd be hugging: 'I love you, man.' [Laughs] They were out of control. They were the first ones to ever introduce us to the kamikaze — the vodka with lime or whatever."
Nancy Wilson's upcoming solo album is expected later this year. She also revealed that Hagar's onetime bandmate Sammy Hagar will be joining her on a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer," while other album guests include Taylor Hawkins and Duff McKagan.
Nancy Wilson Speaks With All Things Considered's Dave Lawrence