Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, is known for his sweet and smooth melodic ballads along with his pop-dance music stylings.
As he ventured on beyond the Motown pop made famous with his brother on the "Jackson 5," he collaborated with mega-music producer Quincy Jones. Wanting to add a rock and roll vibe to his Thriller album, Jackson came up with the lyrics to the song "Beat It." Wanting to add a true rock guitar vibe to the song, Jones called Eddie Van Halen to record the riff.
Van Halen had built his reputation as a innovative guitarist. Eddie Van Halen's
approach to the guitar involves several distinctive components. His innovative use of two-handed tapping, natural and artificial harmonics, vibrato, and tremolo picking, combined with his rhythmic sensibility and melodic approach, have influenced an entire generation of guitarists.
Van Halen stated that he thought that it was a prank call, but after learning about the producer's true intention, he agreed to the offer and did the guitar solo free of charge.