Eddie passed away at the age of 65 on Tuesday after a long battle with throat cancer, prompting a host of music’s biggest names to pay tribute.
“The last time I spent any serious time with Eddie was on the last official Black Sabbath tour I did in ’79, when they opened up for us,” the Paranoid hitmaker recalled. “They were such good guys to be around. We had such fun. Every time I ever saw Eddie Van Halen, it was fun.
“I remember seeing Eddie do that finger-tapping thing, and that was the first time I’d ever seen anyone do that. Just when you think nobody can make guitar playing exciting, somebody like that comes out. He was one of them.
“That thing with finger-tapping in the 80s, with the hair bands, everybody was doing that finger tapping. Once you’ve seen the master do it, everyone else comes second. Anybody after Eddie Van Halen was in second, as far as I’m concerned.”
Ozzy went on to praise the rock legend’s lust for life, adding: “One thing I loved about Eddie was he always had a big grin on his face, and he looked like he was enjoying every second he was up there.
“Whether it was showbiz b**lshit or not – I don’t think it was – he always looked like he was having the best time of his life up there.”
The 71-year-old went on to praise his contemporary’s musicianship, saying he “could sit and watch Eddie Van Halen play guitar all day. He’s so entertaining as a guitar player. He made it look like it was not difficult. He made it look like it was a natural thing. Everybody else was trying to be Eddie Van Halen, but there is only one Eddie Van Halen. I thought he was brilliant.”