Friday, March 21, 2008

Beat It

The cover to Michael Jacksons single blockbuster Beat It

 Thriller knocked us off our socks. "Beat It" gives a whole new vibe to Michael Jackson music! For the first time, R&B and Rock are fused together as one! All thanks in part by Eddie Van Helen's slick and pompous guitar solo.

 Thoroughly impressed by his performance of "Eruption", Executive Producer Quincy Jones quickly called for Eddie to audition a similar piece. At first he thought it were a joke but was assured Mr. Quincy was serious.

 Very much like what John Landis went through with his contemporaries, many thought Eddie Van Helen was madly insane to support some black artist. Yet he eagerly struck the iron while it was hot. "I was a complete fool, according to the rest of the band(Van Helen), 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."

 Indeed, it paid off well. Not so much the dough as his reputation(Eddie volunteered to do the solo). "Beat It" would have never climbed so high if it weren't for him.

 What's More? While Quincy and Michael were recording, Ed accidentally knocked on the door. But that sound hit the nail right on the spot. just when his Heavy Medal ode took off! I guess you could call this a victim of circumstance. Eddie had no idea he'd just inserted the missing link.

 Quincy suggested that Michael add in a black version of what "My Sharona" did around 1979. Michael Jackson whole-heartedly concurred and only added his 2 cents. "I want to write a song, the type that I would buy if I were to buy a rock song...That is how I will approach it. I want the kids to really enjoy it—The school kids as well as the college kids". Thus, an edgy dance-infusing street fix was the result! An upbeat toughness which Jackson held onto for many years down the road.

 Even Marti from "Back To The Future" would sport a red vest and a pair of white tennis shoes parodying The King of Pop! Weird Al was not far behind on his spoof "Just Eat It".

Beat It Single

 The single topped all charts worldwide(except Australia #2)! Folks from both the R&B and Hard Rock genre became new fans of this emerging super pop star! Two Grammys were achieved with this single!

 Together with "Billie Jean", "Beat It" would hit #5 on the charts. Something only a few have accomplished in their careers. "Beat It" also became the best-selling single of all time(since beaten by "Do They Know It's Christmas, "We Are The World, and finally "Candle In The Wind"). Frank Delio(then president of Columbia Records) convinced Michael to release "Beat It" and not to worry about it eaten away from "Billie Jean's" market share. His words of wisdom landed him as manager of Michael Jackson himself!

U.S. Single
  • "Beat It"
  • "Burn this Disco Out"
U.K. 7" Single
  • "Beat It"(7 Inches)
  • "Burn this Disco Out"
U.K. 12" single
  • "Beat It"(12" Version)
  • "Get on the Floor"
  • "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"(edit)
Beat It Remixes

Beat It The Short Film

 As if teaching a few zombies a few steps weren't enough to thrill you, This Smooth Criminal glides his way down the most wanted alley and shows a bunch of thugs a thing or two about conflict resolution. Armed only with a red vest and a few eye-popping steps, He get's the two rival pacts to dance the dance of a lifetime. Thereby, forgetting all their problems.

 Jackson who's been sheltered all his life, craves real friendship and cringes at the sight of violence. This was partly why Michael wanted this film. As you can see from The Making of Beat It.

 Written and directed by Bob Giraldi(who would also direct Paul McCartney's music video "Say Say Say" featuring Michael Jackson). By the way, those men who starred on this film were once real-life gang members who've since tuned their lives around.

 Michael Peters(the dude in the white jacket with the shades) co-starred and choreographed the film(I've always used to tease a friend of mine who looks exactly like him).

Beat It Lyrics

Lyrics | Beat It lyrics

 Just recently, a 2008 edition was released which you can listen to on a sister post, "Beat It 2008".

Next: Billie Jean!

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