That Time Eddie Van Halen Became an ‘SNL’ Musical Guest Just Because He Was in the Building

Eddie Van Halen was a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in the late 1980s because he just happened to be in the building that evening.

The legendary rocker, who died Tuesday at the age of 65, was accompanying his then-wife Valerie Bertinelli to Studio 8H because she was hosting on Feb. 28, 1987. He had zero plans to appear on TV himself — but then house band guitarist G.E. Smith worked his magic.

“He doesn’t want to follow his wife around like a puppy dog,” Smith remembered in an interview years ago. “So he finds out about the music office, and he comes in and hangs out — because you can do whatever you want in the music office. We’re in there drinking, smoking, whatever. He was comfortable there. It was his people, band guys. He got that. He could relax.”

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