30 years after the release of Michael Jackson's Thriller, Eddie Van Halen remembers recording his genre-busting solo to "Beat It." "Beat It" was the third single from Thriller -- which was originally released on November 30th, 1982 -- and featured Eddie Van Halen's heavy metal guitar overdub, which was recorded during a Van Halen break, while on tour. Van Halen remembered the session, telling CNN, that producer Quincy Jones gave him carte blanche to make the solo his own: "I listened to the song, and I immediately go, 'Can I change some parts?' I turned to the engineer and I go, ''OK, from the breakdown, chop in this part, go to this piece, pre-chorus, to the chorus, out.' Took him maybe 10 minutes to put it together. And I proceeded to improvise two solos over it."
Van Halen, who wasn't credited on the album, actually remembers a comical scene at L.A.'s Tower Records shortly after the album's release: "The solo comes on, and I hear these kids in front of me going, 'Listen to this guy trying to sound like Eddie Van Halen.' I tapped him on the shoulder and said, 'That is me!' That was hilarious. I have a lot of respect for Michael. He's going to be sorely missed. I'd be curious as to what he'd be doing right now."
- Michael Jackson's Thriller hit Number One on February 26th, 1983 and topped the charts for 37 non-consecutive weeks.
- "Beat It" was released on February 3rd, 1983 as the second single from Thriller -- following "The Girl Is Mine" and "Billie Jean" -- and hit Number One on April 30th, 1983 and topping the charts for three weeks.
CHECK IT OUT: Eddie Van Halen joining the Jacksons onstage on July 4th, 1984 in Dallas: