Saturday Night Live honored late musician Eddie Van Halen during the newest episode, including a special performance from Jack White. Initially, country singer Morgan Wallen was to be the musical guest for this weekend’s episode alongside debut host Bill Burr. When Wallen was pulled from the schedule for not observing safety precautions, White got the call to replace him, and The White Stripes co-founder took advantage of the opportunity to pay tribute to Van Halen days after his unexpected passing.
During the show, Jack White honored Eddie Van Halen during his performance of the song, “Lazaretto.” For this song, White set aside his usual guitar and played using a cobalt blue model personally designed by Van Halen. After his performance, SNL paid further tribute by airing a clip of Van Halen playing guitar from a 1987 episode of the show, and Burr ended the night by saying, “Rest in peace, Eddie Van Halen.”
Hours before the televised tribute, Jack White had revealed to his Instagram followers his intentions of paying tribute to Van Halen that night. “I thought it could be a nice gesture for me to use this blue Eddie Van Halen model guitar for one of the songs tonight on SNL,” White said, including a photo of the instrument. “The guitar was designed by Eddie (with a few customizations I had added). Eddie was very kind to me and saw to it that this guitar was made for me to my specs. I wont even insult the man’s talent by trying to play one of his songs tonight. Thanks again Eddie for this guitar and rest in peace sir.”
The co-founder and lead guitarist of the band Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen has long been considered one of the very best musicians of all time. In recent years, his health took a turn for the worse when he was diagnosed with throat cancer. He died last week due to complications from the illness at the age of 65. The news brought about great heartbreak across the world from many Van Halen fans, including a wide variety of fellow musicians who were greatly inspired by his work. Gene Simmons, Nikki Sixx, Flea, Ozzy Osbourne, and many other top music stars were among those on social media honoring Van Halen.
White has been appearing on SNL for many years. He first appeared on the show as a musical guest as part of The White Stripes in 2002, with Senator John McCain as the show’s host. As a solo artist, White served as a musical guest for SNL again in 2012, performing renditions of “Love Interruption” and “Sixteen Saltines” with Lindsay Lohan hosting the show. In 2018, White would return once more while John Mulaney was hosting, making this weekend’s appearance his fourth time appearing on the sketch comedy series.
Saturday Night Live will return to NBC with another new episode on Saturday, Oct. 17. Justin Bieber serves as the musical guest with Issa Rae hosting for the first time. You can watch White’s performance honoring Van Halen below, courtesy of Saturday Night Live on Youtube.