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Van Halen Memorial Could Be Up Before End of the Year

Published on Monday, September 20, 2021 | 5:00 am
Eddie Van Halen in 2015

Efforts to create a memorial commemorating legendary rocker and former Pasadena resident Eddie Van Halen are continuing to move forward. 

According to a city memo, the Pasadena Center Operating Co. has approved a plaque honoring Van Halen.

“The Pasadena Center Operating Co. recently reviewed and endorsed the language and location of a memorial plaque to be placed in honor of the late legendary guitarist, Eddie Van Halen, a member of the award-winning band Van Halen, on their site,” states the memo.

The plaque would be installed near the city Convention Center, which is next to the Civic Auditorium, where the band played a dozen times between 1975 and 1978.

According to one group raising money for the memorial, several parties have signed off on the plaque, including the group.

“The city, the band, and the Pasadena Civic Operating Co. have all signed off on our project and fabrication is underway,” said Randa Schmalfeld.

Pasadena 4 Van Halen, a local group, has raised money to fund the effort.

“We are looking forward to sharing the city’s plans for unveiling our plaque as soon as they are finalized,” said Schmalfeld. “We are hearing that our plaque will likely be installed within the next several weeks!”

The group has raised nearly $7,000. 

It was reported that Van Halen’s likeness and the likeness of his guitar could not be included on the plaque. 

It is anticipated that the fabrication of the plaque will take several weeks and will be ready for installation and a dedication sometime around Oct. 6, the anniversary of Van Halen’s death from throat cancer. 

The Van Halen family moved to Pasadena in 1962, and Alex and Eddie attended local schools where they were bullied because they were mixed race and spoke little English.

In a 2017 interview with Smithsonian Magazine, Eddie Van Halen remembered his first friends in America were Black and protected him from local bullies.

Despite those incidents, Van Halen said he was grateful for his experience as an immigrant.

“Coming here with approximately $50 and a piano, not being able to speak the language, going through everything to get to where we are, if that’s not the American dream, I don’t know what is,” he said in the interview.

Following his death, the city received several requests and suggestions from the community for a memorial to honor Eddie Van Halen’s local connection to Pasadena, as well as the impact that his artistry had on music.

The placement of monuments, including memorial plaques, is under the administrative jurisdiction of the city manager. 

Monuments must meet criteria for appropriateness, compatibility with the surrounding environment, and impacts on the location’s existing use.

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