Guitar World has unearthed a great Eddie Van Halen article from 1981, relatively early in the careers of both the guitarist and the magazine. Eddie has always been an avowed Clapton disciple and makes plenty of such references in this, his first interview with GW.  But even this far back he was citing the influence another guitarist:

One guitar player who I respect and think is the baddest, is Allen (sic) Holdsworth. I do one short lick on “Cradle” which is very spontaneous. That came out because I’ve been listening to this guy. On the second album I expanded a little more on harmonics.

Take a look at Part 1 of this interview at GW.

Right here.

 

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