A few rock stars, including Eddie Van Halen and Michael Jackson, have inspired classic rock.
Together, several Grammy Awards and hundreds of number one Billboard hits have been received by the two artists.
Both were also incorporated into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Jackson twice, in fact).
But there’s a secret link that even some of their most dedicated fans don’t know about between the two late artists, and it comes with a shocking twist that’s hard to top – pun intended.
The great shadows cast by Eddie Van Halen and Michael Jackson on the American music landscape
At the time of his death, what was the net worth of Eddie Van Halen and what was Van Halen’s most lucrative hit?
In 1972, the rock band Van Halen was founded by Eddie Van Halen and his brother, Alex Van Halen.
With its self-titled debut album, released in 1978, which was soon certified as a diamond, the group achieved its first commercial success. “Panama,” “Runnin’ with the Devil” and “Eruption.” are some of Van Halen’s greatest hits. The group disbanded in 2020, soon after Eddie died of cancer.
As a member of the Jackson family, Michael Jackson first rose to fame, performing with his older brothers as part of the Jackson 5 group. For albums such as Thriller, which won eight Grammy Awards at the 1984 Grammy Awards, he is best known.
His finger-snapping guitar solo technique was Eddie Van Halen’s signature. His solos are regularly listed by magazines like Rolling Stone and GuitarWorld in the best-of lists.
And they attracted Jackson’s team’s attention once.
In Michael Jackson’s hit ‘Beat It’, Eddie Van Halen helped build the guitar solo
Eddie Van Halen didn’t say anyone about his guitar solo ‘Beat It’
For three of Michael Jackson’s albums (1979’s Off the Wall, 1987’s Thriller and 1987’s Bad), Quincy Jones was a producer. Jones was friends with Eddie Van Halen as well, and he called Van Halen once to ask him for a fast favor: can Van Halen support him by recording a short guitar solo by one of Jones’ clients for a new song?
Michael Jackson was that customer.
In an interview with CNN, Van Halen recalled, “I … wasn’t 100 percent sure it was him,” adding that he figured the whole thing at the time was a joke.
But anyway, he wanted to turn up in the studio, and he was surprised to see that it really was Jackson and all his production staff.
Van Halen asked Jones what he was going to do, and Jones told him that he should listen to the radical Jackson hit, “Beat It,” and make up for whatever he wanted. Jones says he listened to the song and, in less than 30 minutes, did a couple of sample guitar solos.
“I was just finishing the second solo when Michael came in,” Van Halen says. “I didn’t know how he would react to what I was doing. So I warned him before he listened. I said, ‘Look, I changed the middle part of your song.’ […] And so he listened to it, and he turned to me and said, ‘Wow, thank you so much for having the passion to not just come in and fire off a solo, but to actually care about the song and make it better.'”
“Beat It” – featuring Van Halen and his famous guitar solo in an unspecified position – would later win several Grammys and two American Music Awards, although the whole process took just a few minutes.
It is now identified by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the top songs that influenced rock and roll forever.
But Van Halen spent so little time practicing the guitar solo, and never played it again, that as it progressed, something odd happened.
In reality, Van Halen forgot how to play his guitar solo ‘Beat It’
‘Beat It’: Eddie Van Halen has never seen a penny of his famous Michael Jackson guitar solo hit ‘I Was A Total Fool’
You would assume that in the mind of its maker, a guitar solo as special and popular as the one in “Beat It” would be forever engraved, but that was not the case. Van Halen had difficulty learning how to play it years later.
“Beat It”Beat It. Batten says in an interview with GuitarWorld that after “Beat It” came out, she happened to meet Van Halen in the late 1980s.
She recalls, “Eddie’s engineer came over and asked me to come and meet him,” “And as soon as I walked into the room, he put his guitar on me and wanted me to play the solo from [‘Beat It’]. So of course I did.”