Van Halen is one of the few entertainers to achieve a nine-figure net worth made almost entirely off of his talent, as Van Halen's album sales, tour, and royalties allowed the acclaimed guitarist to amass massive wealth while staying true to his passion.
Van Halen's path started from humble beginnings, born in Amsterdam and relocating with his family to California when he was only 7 years old. While there wasn't much money in the family, there was plenty of music. Van Halen's father was a clarinetist, saxophonist, and pianist. Both Eddie and his brother, Alex, were playing piano by the age of 6. Eddie eventually picked up the guitar when he was 17. He and Alex, who was by then a talented drummer, started the band that went on to become Van Halen.
Van Halen Sold More Than 80 Million Albums Worldwide
Van Halen released their self-titled debut in 1978, which went platinum within the year. This was only a sign of things to come, as the band would go on to become one of the biggest bands of the '80s.
Over the course of the band's life, Van Halen released two diamond albums and eight multi-platinum albums, as well as two gold albums at the tail end of their career. Van Halen is one out of only five rock bands to have two diamond records.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers are ranked 20th on the RIAA list of best-selling artists in the United States, having sold 56 million records. When global sales are factored in, Van Halen has sold more than 80 million records. That is all without mentioning the band's 13 No. 1 records on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart. With such massive sales and writing credits on the work, it's undeniable that Eddie has accrued a massive sum from his childhood dream.
He Owned Multiple Guitar Patents
Van Halen was known not only for their music but also for their raucous stage show. Eddie and the rest of the band would pull off acrobatic feats while showcasing some of the most skillful guitar playing of the era.
Putting on such a stage show proved to be difficult with the instruments of the time, forcing Eddie to create several guitar innovations that he would later patent. Eddie's original patent was US4656917A, simply titled "Musical instrument support." This item is a support device that could be attached to a guitar or a similar instrument. It allowed the instrument to be positioned perpendicular to a musician's body, letting a musician play the guitar in a completely different manner to create sounds that couldn't be achieved from the standard carry.
Another Eddie patent, US2004159203A1, was titled "Stringed instrument with adjustable string tension control." This was a series of pegs anchored to the tailpiece of a guitar. Guitar strings could be wrapped around the pegs to maintain a consistent tune even if a musician were to be quite active and experimental with a guitar's sound. Eddie's third patent, USD388117S, was the guitar peghead, which had a similar purpose. Each of these three patents have since been used by guitar players, creating another revenue stream for Eddie.
The Band Earned More Than $20 Million In 2012
While Eddie and Van Halen's peak was in the '80s, they found success in the following decades by touring as a legacy band.
In 2012, Van Halen was the fourth highest-paid musical act, picking up more than $20 million from their "A Different Kind of Truth Tour." The tour promoted the release of their first album with frontman David Lee Roth since 1984. While the band was forced to cancel 32 dates on the tour, they were still able to rake in the dough. Van Halen News Desk reported that the band grossed more than $54 million with 46 shows. Even in their later years, Van Halen was still able to give their adoring fans a show worth their money.