Michael Jackson’s Guitarist Says It Was A Brilliant Move To Bring Eddie Van Halen

Michael Jackson guitarist Jennifer Batten recently joined Appetite For Distortion for an interview during which she stated that bringing Eddie Van Halen in was a great move.

In 1982, Eddie Van Halen contributed to the pop legend Michael Jackson’s song ‘Beat It’ with his guitar solo. He collaborated with Jackson after Pete Townshend’s suggestion as he wasn’t available himself. Later on, Eddie met with the producer Quincy Jones, who asked him to add a guitar solo. At that time, the guitarist thought it was a prank call. 

When he started working on ‘Beat It,’ Eddie wasn’t sure how he could contribute to a pop song at first. He then went and changed the middle section of the song. After listening to it, Jackson liked the outcome and thanked Eddie for his interest in making the song better. In the end, Eddie refused payment for his efforts and recorded the solo free of charge.

Following the 1982 release of Jackson’s ‘Thriller,’ which featured the song ‘Beat It,’ the album became a huge success and the biggest selling album of all time. The record even pushed Van Halen’s album ‘1984’ to no. 2 and went to no. 1 on the charts.

In an interview with Appetite For Distortion, Michael Jackson’s touring guitarist Jennifer Batten stated that it was a brilliant move to include Eddie Van Halen in the song as it helped both of the musicians expand their audiences. She then said Jackson gradually sold millions of records, reaching people worldwide with pop music, which has a broader audience than metal or rock.

During the conversation, Jennifer Batten said the following:

“I think Jackson was doing exactly what he wanted to do. I mean, he had the freedom to do whatever he wanted. And so it was such a brilliant move to bring Van Halen into the mix. I mean, it really worked to expand both of their audiences. Huge, you know. The biggest selling record to date at that point.

In fact, when ‘Thriller’ sold 20 million records, I heard the entire Sony offices around the world took two weeks off and went to Hawaii. That’s how much money was coming in. And then he went on to sell twice that amount, more than twice that amount.

So, you know, he wanted music that would reach people, and I think the pop format is what’s going to reach a lot further than a narrow narrower format of metal or rock.

You can check out the full interview below.