How Eddie Van Halen’s Uncredited Guitar Solo on Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ Came to Be

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

(via ET) By Meredith B. Kile‍

Following Eddie Van Halen’s death on Tuesday from a lengthy battle with cancer, the late rocker’s friends and fellow musicians took to social media to remember the legendary musician and Van Halen founder.

Van Halen, who founded his iconic eponymous rock group with brother Alex in 1972, is widely regarded as one of the most talented guitarists in rock history and was a consistent presence in the group through several hiatuses and lineup shifts.

However, something casual fans might not know is that one of Van Halen’s most memorable contributions to music history didn’t have his name on it at all. The guitarist played an unpaid, initially uncredited solo on one of the biggest pop songs of all time: Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”

Read more:

Video of the Week: Miguel Rivera’s Solo Guitar Arrangement of Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’

Five Kick-Ass Isolated Guitar Tracks


(Source: NME)

1. Lynyrd Skynyrd – ‘Free Bird’

It’s  undoubtedly one of the greatest guitar performances of all time: the late Allen  Collins ripping through the monster-sized solo from Lynryrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free  Bird’. And you thought it was hard to play on Guitar Hero

2. Michael Jackson – ‘Beat It’

Here’s  Eddie Van Halen solo-ing on Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’. Steve Lukather of Toto playing the iconic riff, also available isolated on YouTube – just one  reason why Gibson Guitar Corporation named him among the top 10 session  guitarists of all time.

3. The Stone Roses – ‘Love Spreads’

If you  were in any doubt that John Squire is up there with the greatest British  guitarists, listen to this incredible isolated guitar part from ‘Love Spreads’.  You can find the other instruments isolated on YouTube too, meaning if you’re  incredibly bored you can open all of them at the same time and pretend you’re  with them in the recording studio.

4. The Beatles – ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’

It’s not as cleanly isolated as some of the others, but the sound of  ol’ slow hands Eric Clapton guesting on George Harrison’s ‘While My Guitar  Gently Weeps’ is that of a master at work. He really starts to make it wail at  about two minutes in.

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘Under The Bridge’

Stunningly intricate guitar-work from John Frusciante on this: more  fragile than you might imagine.

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