How Eddie Van Halen transformed Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’

Before Eddie Van Halen agreed to add a guitar break to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” one of the most famous cameos in rock history, he had to be sure the phone call from producer Quincy Jones wasn’t a practical joke.

“I went off on him. I went, ‘What do you want, you f-ing so-and-so!,’” Van Halen told CNN in 2012, 30 years after he worked on the song. “And he goes, ‘Is this Eddie?’ I said, ‘Yeah, what the hell do you want?’ ‘This is Quincy.’ I’m thinking to myself, ‘I don’t know anyone named Quincy.’ He goes, ‘Quincy Jones, man.’ I went, ‘Ohhh, sorry!’”

Van Halen, who died Tuesday at age 65, needed less than an hour in the studio and 20 scorching seconds on record to join white heavy metal to Black pop at a time when they seemed in entirely different worlds, when the young MTV channel rarely aired videos by Black artists. “Beat It” became one of the signature tracks on Jackson’s mega-selling “Thriller” album, won Grammys in 1984 for record of the year and male rock vocal performance and helped open up MTV’s programming.

Van Halen himself would admit he was initially skeptical of contributing to Jackson’s album, wondering how much he had in common with a singer he remembered for chanting “A-B-C, easy as 1-2-3.” But Jackson had written “Beat It” as a rock song, anchored by a hard and funky riff by guitarist Steve Lukather. When Van Halen arrived at the studio in Los Angeles, Jones told him he could improvise. Van Halen listened to “Beat It,” asked if he could rearrange the song and added a pair of solos during which, engineers would long swear, a speaker caught on fire.

As he was finishing, Jackson walked in.

READ THE FULL STORY AT AP

Views: 19

Reply to This

Best guide to hip hop, soul, reggae concerts & events in San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles & New York City + music, videos, radio and more

Connect

Bookmark and Share

Subscribe to E-Blast

TOP PICKS

Members

Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All

Groups

Latest Activity

Editor's Pick posted discussions
6 hours ago
Editor's Pick posted discussions
Saturday
TEAM BIGGA RANKIN posted blog posts
Saturday
bosshogg posted discussions
Friday
Editor's Pick posted discussions
Thursday
TEAM BIGGA RANKIN posted blog posts
Thursday
bosshogg posted a discussion

IPN - "Now It's Over"

Singer, DJ, and producer IPN just dropped a hot new single titled “Now It’s Over”. Even though the track has characteristically sad and dark sounds inspired by Linkin Park, Mike Shinoda and Blackbear, it refers to a message of hope. The lyrics aren’t really complicated, since IPN wrote it really fast and it’s not focused on a specific argument, to leave for the listener…See More
Thursday
Profile IconMaricris Demayo, Tiffany and franseno joined True Skool Network
Thursday
Dj Smoke (@PromoMixtapes) posted a discussion

Kunal - Angelic & Devilish

Kunal - Angelic & DevilishLA-based Hip Hop artist Kunal offers eclectic variety of sounds with new singles ‘Angelic & Devilish’ and ‘Feeling Good’LOS ANGELES, CA- Hip Hop artist KUNAL is a burgeoning force on the horizon. He is a product of global influences. Spending his childhood in New York, New Jersey and London – and paired with his Punjabi heritage – there…See More
Wednesday
Editor's Pick posted discussions
Wednesday
TEAM BIGGA RANKIN posted a blog post

Flawless Tha Don ft Mr.380 "Rowdy" Lyric Video | @thefavoriteflaw

The party starting single "Rowdy" by Flawless Tha Don ft Mr. 380 is out and making its rounds on blogs, mixtapes, and playlists everywhere.for those of you looking for a playful and perfect vibe to get lit to, then you've come to the right place. Today we present you the lyrics, we're sure you'll want to rap a long. Click Here to Stream/Support Flawless Tha Don "Rowdy"…See More
Oct 12
ganstamarcus posted a blog post

Top 5 Lima, Ohio Rappers

These Lima, Ohio artist has stepped up to the plate and will leave there musical legacy over the city's rap culture. The Buckeye state has no shortage of celebrities, but these Top Five artist sure stood out among the…See More
Oct 12

© 2020   Created by Ren the Vinyl Archaeologist.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service