Watch Rare Studio Footage of Eddie Van Halen Playing the "Amsterdam" Riff Years Before its Release

The Van Halen Brasil YouTube account has unearthed footage of Eddie Van Halen playing the riff to the Van Halen song "Amsterdam" at 5150 Studios a number of years before its release. You can check it out above.

Though the video's title places the footage in 1985, Eddie's haircut and "Team Jams National Champs 1986" jersey indicates that it was likely shot in 1986 or early 1987. 

An homage to Eddie and Alex Van Halen's birthplace, "Amsterdam" would only be released on 1995's Balance, the last full-length Van Halen album to feature Sammy Hagar.

Eddie was vocal about his displeasure with the direction Hagar eventually took the song in, telling Guitar World in 1996, "It's not like I suddenly wanted Sammy to be my puppet or anything, but once in a while I would take issue with a specific lyric or line.

"For example, I always hated the words ‘wham, bam, Amsterdam,’ from Balance, because they were all about smoking pot – they were just stupid. Lyrics should plant some sort of seed for thought, or at least be a little more metaphorical."

Jackson Maxwell
Associate Editor, and

Jackson is an Associate Editor at and He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.