Every year, people complain about the stars who were either left off of or given short shrift during the “In Memoriam” segment of The Grammys, and Sunday night’s segment was no different: There were complaints that neither The Moody Blues’ Graeme Edge nor Slipknot‘s Joey Jordison were included. But now, we have some clarity about a part of last year’s “In Memoriam” segment that people complained about.
Eddie Van Halen, who died in October of 2020, was saluted in the 2021 Grammys “In Memoriam” segment with a clip of him playing his signature instrumental “Eruption” while his iconic “Frankenstein” guitar sat alone on the stage. Many felt the Grammys could’ve done more to honor the guitarist who single-handedly changed rock music, but now it’s been revealed that it wasn’t up to them.
David Wild, a writer and producer of The Grammys, who was a friend of the late guitarist, tells The Mitch Lafon and Jeremy White Show podcast that they went to the Van Halen family and offered a number of tribute ideas, including various artists performing Eddie’s songs, or Eddie’s son Wolfgang performing.
But according to Wild, “They said no one should perform…they didn’t want anyone, so we had to find video, and there is very little video of Van Halen.” What’s more, Wild claims the family didn’t want a clip of a song with any of Van Halen’s vocalists singing on it: They only wanted Eddie.
Wild, who decided to put the “Frankenstein” guitar onstage, tells the podcast it was “frustrating” when the segment drew criticism, including from Wolfgang Van Halen, who wrote that he had declined to play “Eruption,” but complained, “I didn’t realize that they would only show Pop for 15 seconds in the middle of [four] full performances for others we had lost.”
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