Beat It

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"Beat It"
Beat It by Michael Jackson US 7-inch vinyl Side-A.jpg
Side-A label of US 7-inch vinyl single
Single by Michael Jackson
from the album Thriller
ReleasedFebruary 14, 1983
Label Epic
Songwriter(s) Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson singles chronology
"Billie Jean"
"Beat It"
"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"
Music video
"Beat It" on YouTube
Audio sample
Alternative cover
UK picture sleeve

"Beat It" is a song written and performed by American recording artist Michael Jackson from his sixth studio album, Thriller (1982). It was produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. Following the successful Thriller singles "The Girl Is Mine" and "Billie Jean", "Beat It" was released on February 14, 1983 as the album's third single. The song is also notable for its music video, which features Jackson bringing two gangsters together through the power of music and dance, and for Eddie Van Halen's guitar solo.

Michael Jackson American singer, songwriter and dancer

Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century and one of the greatest entertainers. Jackson's contributions to music, dance, and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades.

<i>Thriller</i> (Michael Jackson album) 1982 album by Michael Jackson

Thriller is the sixth studio album by American singer Michael Jackson, released on November 30, 1982, in the United States by Epic Records and internationally by CBS Records. It explores genres similar to Jackson's previous album, Off the Wall (1979), including pop, post-disco, rock and funk. Recording took place from April to November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, with a production budget of $750,000.

Quincy Jones American record producer, conductor, arranger, composer, television producer, and trumpeter

Quincy Delight Jones Jr. is an American record producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and film producer. His career spans over 60 years in the entertainment industry with a record 80 Grammy Award nominations, 28 Grammys, and a Grammy Legend Award in 1992.


"Beat It" peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and received the 1984 Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, as well as two American Music Awards. It was inducted into the Music Video Producers Hall of Fame. The single, along with its music video, helped propel Thriller into becoming the best-selling album of all time. The single was certified platinum in the United States in 1989. Rolling Stone placed "Beat It" on the 344th spot of its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The song was also ranked number 81 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time". [4]

The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for songs, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on sales, radio play, and online streaming in the United States.

Grammy Award Accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States

A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The trophy depicts a gilded gramophone. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.

The Grammy Award for Record of the Year is presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to sales or chart position." The Record of the Year award is one of the four most prestigious categories at the awards presented annually since the 1st Grammy Awards in 1959. According to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide, the award is presented:

for commercially released singles or tracks of new vocal or instrumental recordings. Tracks from a previous year's album may be entered provided the track was not entered the previous year and provided the album did not win a Grammy. Award to the artist(s), producer(s), recording engineer(s) and/or mixer(s) if other than the artist.

"Beat It" has been covered, parodied, and sampled by artists including Fall Out Boy, Fergie, and "Weird Al" Yankovic. The song was also featured in the National Highway Safety Commission's anti-drunk driving campaign.

Fall Out Boy American pop punk band

Fall Out Boy is an American rock band formed in Wilmette, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, in 2001. The band consists of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Patrick Stump, bassist Pete Wentz, lead guitarist Joe Trohman, and drummer Andy Hurley. The band originated from Chicago's hardcore punk scene, with which all members were involved at one point. The group was formed by Wentz and Trohman as a pop punk side project of the members' respective hardcore bands, and Stump joined shortly thereafter. The group went through a succession of drummers before landing Hurley and recording the group's debut album, Take This to Your Grave (2003). The album became an underground success and helped the band gain a dedicated fanbase through heavy touring, as well as commercial success. Take This to Your Grave has commonly been cited as an influential blueprint for pop punk music in the 2000s.

Fergie (singer) American singer

Fergie Duhamel is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, and actress. She originally achieved chart success as part of the hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas. Her debut solo album, The Dutchess (2006), saw commercial success and spawned three Billboard Hot 100 number one singles: "London Bridge", "Glamorous", and "Big Girls Don't Cry".

"Weird Al" Yankovic American singer-songwriter, music producer, accordionist, actor, comedian, writer, satirist, and parodist

Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, satirist, actor, voice actor, music video director, comedian, and author. He is known for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts, original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts, and polka medleys of several popular songs, featuring his favored instrument, the accordion.

Production and composition

"Beat It" was composed by Michael Jackson for his Thriller album. Producer Quincy Jones had wanted to include a rock and roll song in the vein of the Knack's "My Sharona", though Jackson reportedly had never previously shown an interest in the genre. [5] [6] Jackson later said of "Beat It", "I wanted to write a song, the type of song that I would buy if I were to buy a rock song... That is how I approached it and I wanted the children to really enjoy it—the school children as well as the college students." [7]

Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s from musical styles such as gospel, jump blues, jazz, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues, along with country music. While elements of what was to become rock and roll can be heard in blues records from the 1920s and in country records of the 1930s, the genre did not acquire its name until 1954.

The Knack band

The Knack was an American rock band based in Los Angeles that rose to fame with their first single, "My Sharona", an international number-one hit in 1979.

My Sharona 1979 single by The Knack

"My Sharona" is the debut single by the Knack. The song was written by Berton Averre and Doug Fieger, and released in 1979 from their album Get the Knack. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart where it remained for 6 weeks, and was number one on Billboard's 1979 Top Pop Singles year-end chart.

The song is played in the key of E minor at a moderately fast tempo of 138 beats per minute. [8] [9] [10] In the song, Jackson's vocal range is B 3 to D 5. [8]

E-flat minor tonality

E-flat minor is a minor scale based on E, consisting of the pitches E, F, G, A, B, C, and D. Its key signature consists of six flats. Its relative key is G-flat major and its parallel key is E-flat major. The direct enharmonic equivalent of E-flat minor is D-sharp minor, a key signature of six sharps.

In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. In classical music, tempo is typically indicated with an instruction at the start of a piece and is usually measured in beats per minute. In modern classical compositions, a "metronome mark" in beats per minute may supplement or replace the normal tempo marking, while in modern genres like electronic dance music, tempo will typically simply be stated in bpm.

Upon hearing the first recorded vocals, Jones stated that it was exactly what he was looking for. [5] The song begins with seven distinct synthesizer notes played on the Synclavier digital synthesizer, with Tom Bahler credited for the Synclavier performance on the song. The intro is taken note for note from a demo LP released the year before, called "The Incredible Sounds of Synclavier II" first published in 1981 by Denny Jaeger Creative Services, Inc and sold by New England Digital, makers of the Synclavier. [11] The drums were played by Toto co-founder Jeff Porcaro. [12]

Synclavier Synthesizer model

The Synclavier was an early digital synthesizer, polyphonic digital sampling system, and music workstation manufactured by New England Digital Corporation of Norwich, Vermont. It was produced in various forms from the late 1970s into the early 1990s. The instrument has been used by prominent musicians.

Thomas Lee Bahler is an American singer, composer, songwriter, arranger, producer, and author. He is the younger brother of singer, arranger, conductor and composer John Bahler. Bahler is most known for his song "She's Out of My Life"; recorded by Michael Jackson, the song was originally written for Frank Sinatra, who never recorded it.

New England Digital synthesizer manufacturing companympany

New England Digital Corporation (1976–1993) was founded in Norwich, Vermont, and relocated to White River Junction, Vermont. It was best known for its signature product, the Synclavier Synthesizer System, which evolved into the Synclavier Digital Audio System or "Tapeless Studio." The company sold an FM digital synthesizer/16-bit polyphonic synthesizer and magnetic disk-based non-linear 16-bit digital recording product, referred to as the "Post-Pro."

Jermaine Jackson has suggested the inspiration of "Beat It" and its video came from the Jackson family experiencing gang activity in Gary, Indiana. "From our front window, we witnessed, about three bad rumbles between rival gangs." [13] The lyrics of "Beat It" have been described as a "sad commentary on human nature". [14] The line "don't be a macho man" is said to express Jackson's dislike of violence, whilst also referring to the childhood abuse he faced at the hands of his father Joseph. [15]

Eddie Van Halen's guitar solo

Eddie Van Halen, lead guitarist of hard rock band Van Halen, was asked to add a guitar solo. [6] [16] When initially contacted by Jones, Van Halen thought he was receiving a prank call. [17] Having established that the call was genuine, Van Halen borrowed an amplifier from guitarist Allan Holdsworth [18] and recorded his guitar solo free of any charge. "I did it as a favor", the musician later said. "I was a complete fool, according to the rest of the band, our manager and everyone else. I was not used. I knew what I was doing – I don't do something unless I want to do it." [19] Van Halen recorded his contribution following Jones and Jackson arriving at the guitarist's house with a "skeleton version" of the song. Fellow guitarist Steve Lukather recalled, "Initially, we rocked it out as Eddie had played a good solo—but Quincy thought it was too tough. So I had to reduce the distorted guitar sound and that is what was released." [19] Two versions of the solo were recorded. [17]

Right before Van Halen's guitar solo begins, a noise is heard that sounds like somebody knocking at a door. It is reported that the knock was a person walking into Eddie's recording studio. Another story has claimed that the sound was simply the musician knocking on his own guitar. [20] The sound, however, is that of Jackson knocking on a drum case, as he is credited in the album's liner notes.

The engineers were shocked during the recording of Van Halen's solo to discover that the sound of his guitar had caused the monitor speaker in the control room to catch fire, causing one to exclaim, "This must be really good!" [21]

Release and reception

"The uncredited guitarist who whipped out the fluttering, squealing solo on this ode to macho cowardice was Eddie Van Halen. The aerodynamic metal flight pumped crossover fuel that would boost the success of Thriller — a gimmick Jackson would flog later with spots from Slash and Carlos Santana. Without the Van Halen precedent, there might have been no collaboration of Run-DMC and Aerosmith on the 1986 rap/rock version of 'Walk This Way'."

—Greg Burk, South Coast Today. [22]

"Beat It" was released on February 14, 1983, following the successful chart performances of "The Girl Is Mine" and "Billie Jean". Frank DiLeo, the vice president of Epic Records, convinced Jackson to release "Beat It" while "Billie Jean" was heading towards number one. Dileo, who later became Jackson's manager, predicted that both singles would remain in the Top 10 at the same time. [19] "Billie Jean" remained atop the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks, before being toppled by "Come On Eileen", which stayed at No. 1 for a single week, before Jackson reclaimed the position with "Beat It". [19] [23]

"Billie Jean" and "Beat It" occupied Top 5 positions at the same time, a feat matched by very few artists. The single remained at the top of the Hot 100 for a total of three weeks. [19] The song also charted at No. 1 on the US R&B singles chart and No. 14 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart in the US. [24] Billboard ranked it at the No. 5 song for 1983. [25] "Beat It" also claimed the top spot in Spain and The Netherlands, reached No. 3 in the UK and the Top 20 in Austria, Norway, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland. [24]

In a Rolling Stone review, Christopher Connelly describes "Beat It" as the best song on Thriller, adding that it "ain't no disco AOR track". He notes of the "nifty dance song", "Jackson's voice soars all over the melody, Eddie Van Halen checks in with a blistering guitar solo, you could build a convention center on the backbeat". [26] AllMusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine states that the song is both "tough" and "scared". [27] Robert Christgau claimed that the song has Eddie Van Halen "wielding his might in the service of antimacho". [28] Slant Magazine observed that the song was an "uncharacteristic dalliance with the rock idiom". [29] The track also won praise from Jackson biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli, who stated that the song was "rambunctious". [6]

"Beat It" has been recognized with several awards. At the 1984 Grammy Awards, the song earned Jackson two of a record-eight awards: Record of the Year and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. The track won the Billboard Music Award for favorite dance/disco 12" LP in 1983. [24] [30] The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a few months after its release, for shipments of at least one million units. In 1989, the standard format single was re-certified platinum by the RIAA, based on the revised sales level of one million units for platinum singles. [31] The total number of digital sales in the US, as of August 2018, stands at 4,000,000. [32]

Music video

Jackson in the music video for "Beat It". Michael Jackson - Beat It music video.jpg
Jackson in the music video for "Beat It".

The music video for "Beat It" helped establish Jackson as an international pop icon. [33] [34] The video was Jackson's first treatment of black youth and the streets. Both "Beat It" and "Thriller" are notable for their "mass choreography" of synchronized dancers, a Jackson trademark. [35]

The video, which cost Jackson $150,000 to create after CBS refused to finance it, [30] [36] was filmed on Los Angeles' Skid Row—mainly on locations on East 5th Street [37] —around March 9, 1983. To add authenticity to the production but also to foster peace between them, Jackson had the idea to cast members of rival Los Angeles street gangs Crips and Bloods. [38] In addition to around 80 genuine gang members, [36] the video, which is noted for opening up many job opportunities for dancers in the US, [39] also featured 18 professional dancers and four breakdancers. [40] Besides Jackson, Michael Peters, and Vincent Paterson, the cast included Michael DeLorenzo, Stoney Jackson, Tracii Guns, Tony Fields, Peter Tramm, Rick Stone, and Cheryl Song. [34] [41] [42]

The video was written and directed by Bob Giraldi, produced by Ralph Cohen, Antony Payne and Mary M. Ensign through production company GASP. The second video released for the Thriller album, it was choreographed by Michael Peters who also performed, alongside Vincent Paterson, as one of the two lead dancers. Despite some sources claiming otherwise, Jackson was involved in creating some parts of the choreography. [38] Jackson asked Giraldi, at the time already an established commercial director but who had never directed a music video, [43] to come up with a concept for the "Beat It" video because he really liked a commercial Giraldi had directed for WLS-TV in Chicago about a married couple of two elderly blind people who instead of running from a run-down neighborhood all the other white people had fled from, chose to stay and throw a block party for all the young children in the area. Contrary to popular belief, the concept of the video was not based on the Broadway musical West Side Story ; in reality Giraldi drew inspiration from his growing up in Paterson, New Jersey. [38]

The video had its world premiere on MTV during prime time on March 31, 1983; [44] [45] neither "Beat It" nor "Billie Jean" were, as is often claimed, [45] [46] the first music video by an African-American artist to be played on MTV. [47] Soon after its premiere the video was also running on other video programs including BET's Video Soul , SuperStation WTBS's Night Tracks , and NBC's Friday Night Videos . In fact, "Beat It" was the first video shown on the latter's first ever telecast on July 29, 1983. [48]

The video opens with the news of a fight circulating at a diner. This scene repeats itself at a pool hall, where gang members arrive via foot, forklift, and out of sewers, while the video's titular song begins to play. The camera cuts to Jackson lying on a bed as he contemplates the senseless violence. Jackson notices rival gangs and leaves. Michael Jackson dons a red leather J. Parks brand jacket, and dances his way towards the fight through the diner and pool hall. A knife fight is taking place between the two gang leaders in a warehouse. They dance battle for an interlude of music until Jackson arrives; he breaks up the fight and launches into a dance routine. The video ends with the gang members joining him in the dance, agreeing that violence is not the solution to their problems. [34]

The video received recognition through numerous awards. The American Music Awards named the short film their Favorite Pop/Rock Video and their Favorite Soul Video. The Black Gold Awards honored Jackson with the Best Video Performance award. The Billboard Video Awards recognized the video with 7 awards; Best Overall Video Clip, Best Performance by a Male Artist, Best Use of Video to Enhance a Song, Best Use of Video to Enhance an Artist's Image, Best Choreography, Best Overall Video and Best Dance/Disco 12". The short film was ranked by Rolling Stone as the No. 1 video, in both their critic's and reader's poll. The video was later inducted into the Music Video Producer's Hall of Fame. [30]

The music video of the song appears on the video albums: Video Greatest Hits – HIStory , HIStory on Film, Volume II , Number Ones , on the bonus DVD of Thriller 25 and Michael Jackson's Vision .

Live performances

On July 14, 1984, Jackson performed "Beat It" live with his brothers during The Jacksons' Victory Tour. The brothers were joined on stage by Eddie Van Halen, who played the guitar in his solo spot. [30] The song became one of Jackson's signature songs; he performed it on all of his world tours: Bad, Dangerous and HIStory. [49] The October 1, 1992 Dangerous Tour performance of "Beat It" was included in the Michael Jackson: The Ultimate Collection box set. The DVD was later repackaged as Live in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour . [49] Jackson also performed the song on the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special , a concert celebrating the musician's thirtieth year as a solo performer. The performance featured Slash as the song's guest guitarist. [50]

A highlight of Jackson's solo concert tour performances of the song is that he would begin the song on a cherry picker (which he would also later use with "Earth Song" during the HIStory World Tour) after performing Thriller. Another live version of the song is available on the DVD Live at Wembley July 16, 1988 . The song would have also been performed as part of the This Is It concerts which were canceled due to Jackson's death.


Jackson's "Beat It" has been cited as one of the most successful, recognized, awarded and celebrated songs in the history of pop music; both the song and video had a large impact on pop culture. [5] The song is said to be a "pioneer" in black rock music, and is considered one of the cornerstones of the Thriller album. [5] Eddie Van Halen has been praised for adding "the greatest guitar solo", helping "Beat It" become one of the best-selling singles of all time. [5]

Shortly after its release, "Beat It" was included in the National Highway Safety Commission's anti-drunk driving campaign, "Drinking and Driving Can Kill a Friendship". The song was also included on the accompanying album. Jackson collected an award from President Ronald Reagan at the White House, in recognition for his support of the campaign. [30] Reagan stated that Jackson was "proof of what a person can accomplish through a lifestyle free of alcohol or drug abuse. People young and old respect that. And if Americans follow his example, then we can face up to the problem of drinking and driving, and we can, in Michael's words, 'Beat It'." [51]

Frequently listed in greatest song polling lists, "Beat It" was ranked as the world's fourth favorite song in a 2005 poll conducted by Sony Ericsson. [50] Over 700,000 people in 60 different countries cast their votes. [50] Voters from the UK placed "Billie Jean" at No. 1, ahead of "Thriller", with a further five of the top ten being solo recordings by Jackson. [50] In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed "Beat It" in the 337th spot on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. [52] The song was featured in the films Back to the Future Part II , Zoolander and Undercover Brother . [50] When re-released, as part of the Visionary campaign in 2006, "Beat It" charted at No. 15 in the UK. [50] The song has been used in TV commercials for companies like Budweiser, eBay, Burger King, Delta Air Lines, Game Boy, Coldwell Banker and the NFL. On the City Guys episode of season 3's "Face the Music", Jamal says to Slick Billy West, played by Sherman Hemsley, "Well Gone Michael Jackson and Beat It" which was in the final scene. The song also appeared in the 2008 music game, Guitar Hero World Tour , as the last song in the vocal career. Notably, in this game, the vocalist will perform the same dance routine performed by Jackson on the video and live performances when singing the final verse. The song is featured on the dancing game Michael Jackson: The Experience .

A remix of "2 Bad", is featured on Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix containing a sample of "Beat It" as well as a rap by John Forté and guitar solo by Wyclef Jean. [53]

Format and track listing

7" vinyl single – US (Epic 34-03759) [54]
1."Beat It" Michael Jackson 4:18
2."Get on the Floor"Jackson, Louis Johnson 4:44
12" vinyl single – UK (Epic TA 3258) [55]
1."Beat It"Jackson4:11
2."Burn This Disco Out" Rod Temperton 3:38
3."The Jacksons – Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" (live version) Greg Phillinganes, Jackson4:22
Visionary single 2006 [55]
1."Beat It"Jackson4:18
2."Beat It" (Moby's Sub Remix)Jackson6:11
Visionary single DVD [55]
1."Beat It" (video)Jackson4:18

Credits and personnel

Adapted from the Thriller liner notes. [56]



Charts and certifications

Weekly charts

"Beat It 2008"

"Beat It 2008"
Beat It 2008.jpeg
Song by Michael Jackson featuring Fergie
from the album Thriller 25
ReleasedFebruary 8, 2008
RecordedNovember 2007
Label Epic
Songwriter(s) Michael Jackson

For Thriller 25 , The Black Eyed Peas singer remixed "Beat It". [108] The song, titled "Beat It 2008", featured additional vocals by fellow Black Eyed Peas member Fergie. [109] [110] Upon its release in 2008, the song reached No. 26 in Switzerland, the Top 50 in Sweden and No. 65 in Austria. [111] This was the second remixed version of "Beat It" to get an official release, following Moby's Sub Mix which was released on the "Jam" and "Who Is It" singles in 1992, [112] as well as the "They Don't Care About Us" single in 1996 (and re-released as part of the Visionary campaign. [113] )


"Beat It 2008" received generally unfavorable reviews from music critics. Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone claimed that the song was a "contender for the year's most pointless musical moment". [114] AllMusic criticized Fergie for "parroting the lyrics of "Beat It" back to a recorded Jackson". [115] Blender's Kelefa Sanneh also noted that the Black Eyed Peas singer traded lines with Jackson. "Why?", she queried. [116] Todd Gilchrist was thankful that the remix retained Eddie Van Halen's "incendiary guitar solo", but added that the song "holds the dubious honor of making Jackson seem masculine for once, and only in the context of Fergie's tough-by-way-of- Kids Incorporated interpretation of the tune". [117] Tom Ewing of Pitchfork observed that Fergie's "nervous reverence is a waste of time". [118]


Chart (2008)Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) [111] 65
Canada (Hot Canadian Digital Singles) [73] 66
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) [119] 43
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) [120] 26
Chart (2009)Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) [121] 14
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) [119] 8

Remix credits

Fall Out Boy version

"Beat It"
Fall Out Boy - Beat It.PNG
Single by Fall Out Boy featuring John Mayer
from the album Live in Phoenix
ReleasedMarch 25, 2008 [122]
Format Digital download
Label Island
Songwriter(s) Michael Jackson
Producer(s) Patrick Stump
Fall Out Boy singles chronology
"I'm Like a Lawyer (Me & You)"
"Beat It"
"'I Don't Care"
John Mayer singles chronology
"Beat It"
"Free Fallin'"
Music video
"Beat It (MTV Version) ft. John Mayer " on YouTube

American rock band Fall Out Boy covered "Beat It". The studio version was digitally released on March 25, 2008 by Island Records as the only single from the band's first live album, Live in Phoenix (2008). The song features a guitar solo by John Mayer, which was performed by Eddie Van Halen in the original song. In the United States, the song peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached No. 21 on the defunct-Billboard Pop 100 chart, also charting internationally. The band has since regularly incorporated it in their set list at their shows.

Background, recording and release

In early 2008 it was announced that Fall Out Boy were to cover "Beat It" for their Live in Phoenix album. [123] The band had previously performed the song at venues such as Coors Amphitheatre and festivals such as the Carling Weekend in Leeds. [124] [125] Bassist Pete Wentz, who has claimed to have an obsession with Jackson, stated that prior to recording the song, he would only watch Moonwalker . [126] It was also announced that John Mayer was to add the guitar solo previously played by Eddie Van Halen. [127]

The band's lead singer/guitarist Patrick Stump stated that the band had not planned to cover the song. "Basically, I just started playing the riff in sound-check one day, and then we all started playing it, and then we started playing it live, and then we figured we'd record it and put it out with our live DVD." [128] Bassist Pete Wentz added that the band had not originally intended for the song to be released as a single either. [128] "'Beat It' seemed like a song that would be cool and that we could do our own take on", he said. [126] Having spent time deciding on a guitarist for the song, Wentz eventually called John Mayer to add the guitar solo. "We were trying to think about who is a contemporary guitar guy who's going to go down as a legend", Wentz later noted. [128]

Upon its digital release as a single in April 2008, Fall Out Boy's cover of "Beat It" became a mainstay on iTunes' Top 10 chart. [129] The song peaked at No. 8 in Canada, becoming another top 10 hit in the region. It also charted at No. 13 in Australia, No. 14 in New Zealand, No. 75 in Austria and No. 98 in the Netherlands. [130]

Music video

The music video for Fall Out Boy's "Beat It" was directed by Shane Drake and was made in homage to Jackson. "I think when you're doing a Michael Jackson cover, there's this expectation that you're going to do one of his videos verbatim," Stump said. "What we decided to do was kind of inspired by Michael Jackson and the mythology of him. There are specific images that are reference points for us, but at any given point, it's not any of his videos. It's kind of all of his videos, all at once, but on a Fall Out Boy budget, so it's not quite as fancy." [131] The costumes for the video were similar to the originals. "My costume is this take on one of the guys from Michael Jackson's original 'Beat It' video, like, the guy who plays the rival dancer," Wentz said during the filming of the video. [131] The music video featured numerous cameos, including a karate class/dance session being taught by Tony Hale, Donald Faison and Joel David Moore dressed up like Michael Jackson. [131] The short film later received a MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Rock Video. [132]


Chart (2008)Peak
Australia (ARIA) [133] 13
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) [134] 75
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia) [135] 12
Brazilian Singles Chart (ABPD) [136] 38
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) [137] 8
Canada (Hot Canadian Digital Singles) [138] 4
Ireland (IRMA) [139] 21
Germany (Official German Charts) [140] 69
Netherlands (Single Top 100) [130] 98
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) [141] 14
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) [142] 21
US Billboard Hot 100 [143] 19
US Digital Songs ( Billboard ) [144] 8
US Pop 100 ( Billboard ) [138] 4
Venezuela Pop Rock (Record Report) [145] 9

Other cover versions

See also

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<i>1984</i> (Van Halen album) 1984 studio album by Van Halen

1984 is the sixth studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released on January 9, 1984. It was the last Van Halen album until A Different Kind of Truth (2012) to feature lead singer David Lee Roth, who left in 1985 following creative differences. As of 2019, this would be the final full-length album to feature all four original members. 1984 and Van Halen's debut are Van Halen's bestselling albums, each having sold more than 10 million copies.

Wanna Be Startin Somethin song by Michael Jackson

"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson recorded for his sixth studio album Thriller (1982). It is the opening track of the album and was released as its fourth single on May 8, 1983 by Epic Records. It was written by Jackson and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones.

Thriller (song) 1982 song by Michael Jackson

"Thriller" is a song recorded by American singer Michael Jackson and produced by Quincy Jones. It was released as the seventh and final single from Jackson's album Thriller (1982) on January 23, 1984.

Jump (Van Halen song) 1983 single by Van Halen

"Jump" is a song by American hard rock band Van Halen. It was released in December 1983 as the lead single from their album 1984. It is Van Halen's most successful single to date, reaching number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song differs from earlier Van Halen songs in that it is driven by a keyboard line although the song does contain a guitar solo, which was spliced together from multiple takes. David Lee Roth dedicated the song to martial artist Benny Urquidez, of whom he was a student.

Black or White 1991 single by Michael Jackson

"Black or White" is a single by American singer and songwriter Michael Jackson. The song was released by Epic Records on November 11, 1991, as the first single from his eighth studio album, Dangerous. He co-wrote, composed, and produced it with Bill Bottrell.

Dirty Diana single

"Dirty Diana" is a song by American artist Michael Jackson. It is the ninth track on Jackson's seventh studio album, Bad. The song was released by Epic Records on April 18, 1988 as the fifth single from the album. It presents a harder rock sound similar to "Beat It" from Thriller (1982) and a guitar solo played by Steve Stevens. "Dirty Diana" was written and co-produced by Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones. The song's lyrics pertain to groupies. "Dirty Diana" has a moderate tempo and is played in the key of G minor.

P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) Song by Michael Jackson from Thriller

"P.Y.T. " is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It is the sixth single from Jackson's sixth solo album, Thriller (1982). The original demo version of the song was written by Jackson and Greg Phillinganes. Quincy Jones passed on the song itself but liked the title and, with James Ingram, fashioned a totally new song with that title. The demo version is featured on The Ultimate Collection (2004).

Human Nature (Michael Jackson song) song by Michael Jackson

"Human Nature" is a 1983 song performed by American singer Michael Jackson, and the fifth single from his landmark sixth solo album, Thriller. It was originally written by keyboardist Steve Porcaro, based on a conversation he had had with his young daughter Heather after a hard day at school. Porcaro, along with some of his bandmates from the band Toto, had been assisting with the production of Thriller, but he had not intended for "Human Nature" to be used by Jackson. However, Thriller producer Quincy Jones inadvertently heard a demo version of the track and thought it would be a great fit for the album. Jones then brought in songwriter John Bettis to rewrite the verses, whose lyrics are about a passerby in New York City. The track was produced by Jones and performed by members of Toto with Michael Jackson providing vocals.

Heal the World song from Michael Jackson

"Heal the World" is a song recorded by American recording artist Michael Jackson from his eighth studio album, Dangerous (1991). It was released in 1992 as the fifth single from the album. It was written and composed by Jackson, and produced by Jackson and Bruce Swedien.

Why Cant This Be Love single by Van Halen

"Why Can't This Be Love" is a song by the American rock band Van Halen for their seventh studio album, 5150 (1986). The song was released as the lead single from 5150 on February 26, 1986 through Warner Bros. Records. It was the group's first single with lead vocalist Sammy Hagar, who replaced founding member David Lee Roth. It was released on both 7" and 12" single formats, the 12" single featuring an extended version of the song. The song is driven by bouncy lead keyboard work from Eddie Van Halen performed on an Oberheim OB-8.

Van Halen discography discography

Van Halen is an American rock band, formed in Pasadena, California in 1972, by the Dutch-born American brothers Eddie Van Halen (guitar) and Alex Van Halen (drums), plus singer David Lee Roth and bassist Michael Anthony. The band's discography consists of 12 studio albums, two live albums, two compilation albums, and 56 singles.

Say Say Say 1983 Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson song

"Say Say Say" is a song written and performed by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, released in 1983. The track was produced by George Martin for McCartney's album, Pipes of Peace. The song was recorded during production of McCartney's 1982 Tug of War album, about a year before the release of "The Girl Is Mine", the pair's first duet from Jackson's album Thriller (1982).

Love Never Felt So Good song written by American recording artist Michael Jackson and Canadian singer-songwriter Paul Anka

"Love Never Felt So Good" is a song by American singer and songwriter Michael Jackson, released posthumously on May 2, 2014. The song, reworked from a 1983 demo track originally composed by Jackson and Canadian singer-songwriter Paul Anka, was the first single released from Jackson's second posthumous album, Xscape.


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