Wolfgang Van Halen ‘hurt' by Grammys tribute to his late father

The musician said he declined an offer to perform at the ceremony.

Eddie Van Halen’s son said he was “hurt” by the Grammy Awards tribute to his late father.

Wolfgang Van Halen revealed he declined an offer from the Recording Academy to play Eruption, his father’s famed guitar solo, during the In Memoriam segment of Sunday’s ceremony.

Instead, it featured extended tributes to Little Richard, Kenny Rogers, John Prine and Gerry Marsden, while other stars who died in the last 12 months – including influential guitarist Eddie – appeared briefly on a screen.

Bruno Mars, Chris Martin, Lionel Richie and Brandi Carlile all performed during the segment.

Wolfgang, who announced his father’s death from cancer aged 65 in October, said he expected a larger tribute to Eddie, the creative force behind the band he gave his name to.

In a statement on social media, Wolfgang said: “The GRAMMYS asked me to play Eruption for the ‘In Memoriam’ section and I declined. I don’t think anyone could have lived up to what my father did for music but himself.

“It was my understanding that there would be an ‘In Memoriam’ section where bits of songs were performed for legendary artists that had passed. I didn’t realise that they would only show Pop for 15 seconds in the middle of 4 full performances for others we had lost.

“What hurt the most was that he wasn’t even mentioned when they talked about artists we lost in the beginning of the show. I know rock isn’t the most popular genre right now, (and the academy does seem a bit out of touch) but I think it’s impossible to ignore the legacy my father left on the instrument, the world of rock, and music in general. There will never be another innovator like him.”

63rd Annual Grammy Awards – Show
Brandi Carlile performed a tribute to the late singer-songwriter John Prine during the In Memoriam section of the 63rd Grammy Awards (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Wolfgang, a 30-year-old bassist, said he did not want to start a “hate parade,” adding his father would have laughed off the perceived snub.

He said: “I’m not looking to start some kind of hate parade here, I just wanted to explain my side. I know Pop would probably just laugh it off and say ‘Ehh who gives a shit?’ He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn’t matter.

“I’d love to get the opportunity to speak with The Recording Academy not only about the legacy of my father, but the legacy of the Rock genre moving forward.”

The Recording Academy, the body which oversees the Grammys, has been contacted for comment.

The organisation was also criticised for not recognising Glee actress Naya Rivera in the In Memoriam segment.

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