Michael Jackson’s Guitarist Admits to Cashing in on Copying Eddie Van Halen

Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen have goal scores. From Michael Jackson, his work with the Jackson 5 to Thriller and Bad to HIStory. From Eddie Van Halen, Van Halen has his first two self-titled albums to their latest work with Sammy Hagar to solo work and collaborations. Both musicians changed the world of music and were very famous in their time, and are still seen as myths in the twentieth century. For that reason, it was a big deal when Eddie Van Halen and Michael Jackson collaborated on Jackson ‘s song’ Beat It ‘; But not everyone has Eddie Van Halen’s guitar chops, and Van Halen wouldn’t be able to direct his own itinerary and follow Jackson around to play his own for every show.

So what did the famous guitarist Jackson do when it came to playing Beat It? ‘

(LR) Michael Jackson and Jennifer Batten will play on stage
(LR) Michael Jackson and Jennifer Batten Photos Still Still / Getty


Michael Jackson wrote and recorded ‘Beat It’ in 1982 for his album Thriller. He wanted to have a song that was more of a rock song, even though Rock was never Jackson’s genre. Nevertheless, he wrote ‘Beat It,’ trying to make something that would be really appealing. After recording an early version, producer Quincy Jones decided to add Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solo to the song.

Van Halen didn’t believe he was asked to collaborate with the King of Pop, but Jones meant that. And when Van Halen appeared to be recording, Jones decided to give him a lot of freedom alone. With Jackson ‘s writing and performance, Van Halen’ s deadly guitar chops, and Jones’ s experienced production, the song became a real hit.

Jennifer Batten

Jennifer Batten was not on tour with Michael Jackson when she heard ‘Beat It’ for the first time – in fact, she was still playing with a local cover band. However, the entrant introduced her, and she quickly bought an accuser, so that she could learn the solitude by ear. The solo is incredibly difficult technically, and Batten had to slow down the cassette to play it. But learning Van Halen’s ingenuity was important to her. According to Batten in conversation with Guitar World,

Someone asked me the other day if I had been asked to play that way or if it was my choice. It was definitely an option for me because I thought this was one of the most perfect solos in history. I knew I could do no better than Eddie. I was proud to play it the way it was. And it was challenging. It remains challenging.

But her strength and control in learning solo was difficult, except when she became a Jackson guitarist. He paid off both in professional and financial success, as according to Batten, “Later that musician bought me a house!”

Teaching Van Halen

Ironically, Eddie Van Halen forgot how to play his solo. He had never asked for a name on the record, and he never won kingdoms – he played alone in favor of Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson. It wasn’t just something he was playing regularly after the studio recording. However, it seems to have mattered to him, because in the late 1980s, he contacted Jennifer Batten and asked her to show him the solo. She did so, and he remembered being alone.

It shows – there is a lot you can learn and achieve from copying the masters. Batten’s diligent use of solo Van Halen allowed her to become a guitar player on a trip to one of the greatest artists on the planet, earned her a solid living, and developed her skills to an incredibly high level.

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