Grammy Boss Defends Eddie Van Halen Tribute Following Backlash


The executive producer of the Grammy Award has responded to the criticisms regarding the ‘In Memoriam’ segment that honored the late Van Halen rock star.

Grammy Awards executive producer Ben Winston has defended the show’s Eddie Van Halen In Memoriam tribute, revealing he wanted it to be bigger but the late guitar great’s family nixed the idea.

Fans and Eddie’s son Wolfgang were upset by the Van Halen star’s 15-second slot at music’s big night on Sunday (14Mar21), and some devotees took to social media this week to hammer the Recording Academy bosses for failing to show due respect to a rock legend.

Wolfgang Van Halen revealed in a social media post that he was approached by producers to perform his father’s signature guitar instrumental “Eruption” during the Grammys broadcast, but declined. He also took aim at the show’s power players, adding, “What hurt the most was that he wasn’t even mentioned when they talked about artists we lost in the beginning of the show.”

But Winston tells Variety he did what he could to facilitate a more comprehensive tribute.

“We had a call with Wolfgang before the show, and I asked him if he’d be willing to come on and play,” Ben says. “He felt he didn’t really want to do that, and I offered up eight or nine guitarists who maybe could. But instead, he felt like we should play a video of Eddie himself, because nobody could play like him, so that’s what we did.”

“I would have loved for it to be longer than it was, but Eddie was the only person in the whole In Memoriam (segment) to play their own music, with no other faces being seen. I felt that was an appropriate tribute to him, but if Wolfgang didn’t, I’m sorry about that… It’s such a horrific thing to lose a parent. We did the best that we felt we could.”