As the music world mourned the passing of rock legend Eddie Van Halen this week, a quirky tale of rock meeting rock rose from the history books.

While millions of classic rock fans paid tribute to the Van Halen founding member, most known for the party favourite ‘Jump’, it was up to a handful of Sandgrounders to offer up their memories of a close encounter with the guitarist and his band mates.

And it all happened, somewhat ironically, at a Southport Rock Shop in 1978.

The band, then touring alongside Ozzy Osboune’s Black Sabbath, as a little known support act, were staying in Southport during the tour and decided to sample some of the town’s most famous and popular delights…Southport Rock!

It was at one of the rock shops on Nevill Street they met a group of young men and engaged them in conversation about their tour and music.

One of the men present, Steve P, said he remembered the encounter well.

Steve said “Rest in Peace Eddie Van Halen!

“Their debut album was a groundbreaker. We met the band in a seaside rock shop in Southport on their first tour supporting Black Sabbath.

“Back then was when no-one had heard of them!

“I told them they should come to Liverpool! He was a great rock guitarist.”