Since their debut in 1978, Van Halen has set a high bar for the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of good times and debauchery. It created an entirely new style of post-’60s hard rock and, unlike bands with a similar sound, managed to gain cross-gender appeal. There is an undercurrent of tragedy to the band’s saga, however. Although Eddie Van Halen is a rock god, he is by all accounts hypersensitive and emotionally insecure. Living in the spotlight, his struggles have played out in public, from a battle with cancer that left him without one-third of his tongue to the break-up of his longtime marriage to Valerie Bertinelli. With insights from Van Halen himself, ‘Eruption’ reaches beyond the boundaries of a conventional rock biography to explore the cultural, political, and social contexts that shaped an icon.