Eddie Van Halen talks about his solo on “Beat It”

Van Halen was a surprise guest on “Beat It,” the album’s third single. His blazing guitar solo lasted all of 20 seconds and took half an hour to record. He did it for free, as a favor to producer Quincy Jones, while the rest of his Van Halen bandmates were out of town.

Eddie is one of the greatest guitarists that has ever picked up the instrument.

  • Donna

    The first time we heard it on the radio, my then 50 year old mother said, “That sounds just like Eddie Van Halen!” 25 year old me rolled my eyes and said, “Yeah, right Mom.” She was so proud of herself when we found out a few weeks later that she was right. Damn, I miss her.

  • Great guitarist… shit-for-brains businessman.

  • GTWilson

    I remember the first time I heard that solo. It was obvious who was playing from the first note – His tone and phrasing are that unique.

  • I’m fond of his work on a couple of tracks of Thomas Dolby’s “Astronauts & Heretics” album, particularly “Eastern Bloc”

  • For complete disclosure and for the historical record, Steve Lukather was brought in by Quincy and played every guitar part on Thriller other than Eddie’s solo. It’s too bad in a way, because I don’t think anyone knows this, all anyone remembers is Eddie’s solo. Luke is a world-class guitarist, musician, and as importantly, human being. The “inside baseball” story is that Luke came up with the guitar riff in “Billie Jean”…just sayin’…