Eddie Van Halen fans remember his work on Michael Jackson’s classic hit ‘Beat It’

The late guitarist worked on the track for free

Eddie Van Halen fans have been paying tribute to the late Van Halen guitarist’s work on Michael Jackson‘s classic 1982 hit ‘Beat It’.

The legendary guitarist, who passed away yesterday (October 6), previously revealed that when he got the call from ‘Thriller’ producer Quincy Jones, he thought it was a practical joke.

“I went off on him. I went, ‘What do you want, you fucking so-and-so!,’” he told CNN in 2012. “And he goes, ‘Is this Eddie?’ I said, ‘Yeah, what the hell do you want?’ ‘This is Quincy.’ I’m thinking to myself, ‘I don’t know anyone named Quincy.’ He goes, ‘Quincy Jones, man.’ I went, ‘Ohhh, sorry!’”

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After hearing the initial version of the track, Van Halen asked if he could rearrange the song and add a pair of solos. As he was finishing Jackson walked in.

“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 section of your song,’” Van Halen said. “Now in my mind, he’s either going to have his bodyguards kick me out for butchering his song, or he’s going to like it. And so he gave it a listen, and he turned to me and went, ‘Wow, thank you so much for having the passion to not just come in and blaze a solo, but to actually care about the song, and make it better.’”

Fans and musicians have today (October 7) been paying tribute to his work on the track, which he did for free and was never credited.

“Just a reminder that while we were all being music snobs in high school, Eddie Van Halen does the guitar solo in Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ in one take and took no prisoners,” wrote Eric Alper on Twitter.

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“When Eddie Van Halen was asked to do the solo on ‘Beat It’ from ‘Thriller’ he didn’t want to be credited or paid because it would make everything too complicated. He just asked for a case of beer and for MJ to give him dance lessons,” added Peter Rojas.

“In addition to Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen did the guitar solo for Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ and was immortalized as a claymation hamburger in John Cusack’s Better Off Dead,” wrote fan Kevin M.Kruse.

You can view a selection below:

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