Teen star Billie Eilish is being slammed by boomers for knowing a metal band that was at the height of its popularity 30 years before she was born. Fans are coming to her defense after the Van Halen ‘incident.’
UPDATE, 12/2/19, 4:15pm ET: Wolf Van Halen, 28, the current Van Halen bassist and son of the band’s founder/guitarist, Eddie Van Halen, tweeted his support for Billie: “If you haven’t heard of @billieeilish, go check her out. She’s cool. If you haven’t heard of @VanHalen, go check them out. They’re cool too. Music is supposed to bring us together, not divide us. Listen to what you want and don’t shame others for not knowing what you like.”
ORIGINAL: When you were 17, were you into all the music your parents listened to when they were young? Didn’t think so! Some kids are into classic rock, and some kids aren’t — and that’s totally okay. That’s what Billie Eilish‘s fans, and even some boomers, are saying to people making fun of her for not knowing Van Halen. Billie confessed during an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that she didn’t have the faintest clue about who the iconic hair metal band was, and she was immediately slammed on Twitter. Jimmy chatted with Billie on the November 22 episode of his show, and mentioned that he was 17 in 1984. He went through some of the biggest stars that year and asked Billie if she’d heard of them.
Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, yes. Van Halen, Huey Lewis, and Run DMC, not so much. For some reason, people on Twitter are freaking out about the metal band the most. As one person tweeted, “Billie Eilish didn’t know who Van Halen was, I’m sobbing.” While some joined in on the sobfest, others slammed back. “Who cares if a teenager doesn’t know the music you knew when you were a teen? Introduce them! Y’all didn’t come onto this earth knowing all the stuff you know now either. Doesn’t matter when they meet the good stuff. Shut up and play it for them. #VanHalen #BillieEilish,” one person tweeted, making a very good point.
“i don’t know anything about billie eilish apart from the one song of hers i heard that I thought was super dope, because i’m old and out of touch, but why should we expect her to know who van halen is?” another person wrote on Twitter, with a follower agreeing: “Especially now. Van Halen was dated and kind of embarrassing a decade ago, I can’t imagine why any teen would possible care about them in 2019 when their only exposure would be through terrible cheesy fake 80s advertisements.” For reference, Van Halen formed in 1974, 27 years before the “Bad Guy” singer was born. Their arguably biggest hits, “Jump”, “Hot for Teacher”, and “Panama”, dropped in 1983 and 1984.
I'm not. I'm 50, so I grew up with VH.
When I was 17 in 1985 (and listening to artists like Van Halen & Rush) I did not know artists like Billie Holiday, The Ink Spots, or the Andrews Sisters.
Forty years is a HUGE gap in music. Give her a break.
— Deep Time (@rstackjr) December 2, 2019
Why are people making fun of Billie Eilish not knowing who Van Halen is? She's 17 years old. Not every teenager is raised on classic rock. Ok boomers.
— Todd (@RadioTodd13) November 30, 2019
Even Jimmy defended her, and it was during the interview! “If you asked me questions about 1943, I probably wouldn’t know the answers either,” he assured Billie. Van Halen hasn’t spoken out, but we doubt any of the members of the metal band will say anything. After all, founding member Eddie Van Halen, now 64, said in a June 2015 Billboard interview that he doesn’t listen to music anymore at all.