Beat It

FROM : Original track listing of the Thriller album (1982)

RELEASE DATE : November 30, 1982 (album version)

Released as a single on February 14, 1983

LENGHT : 4:18 (album version)

LABEL : Epic CBS Records (now Sony Music)

RECORDING DATES : April 14, 1982 to November 8, 1982.

STUDIOS : Westlake Recording Studios (Los Angeles, California)

SONGWRITER(S) : Rod Temperton

PRODUCER(S) : Quincy Jones


LEAD VOCALS : Michael Jackson

BACKING VOCALS : Michael Jackson


Michael Jackson – lead and backing vocals, drum case beater
Paul Jackson Jr. – rhythm guitar
Steve Lukather – lead guitar, bass guitar
Eddie Van Halen – guitar solo
Steve Porcaro – synthesizer, synthesizer programming
Greg Phillinganes – Rhodes, synthesizer
Bill Wolfer – keyboards
Tom Bahler – Synclavier
Jeff Porcaro – drums
Greg Smith – Synergy synthesizer


*Worked by MJ during his lifetime. Covers and remixes by other artists are not included.

-Beat It (demo) : release posthumously on October 26, 2009 (Michael Jackson’s This Is It album)


-Victory Tour 1984

-Bad World Tour : 1987-1989

-Dangerous World Tour : 1992-1993

-MTV Video Music Awards 1995 (as part of a medley)

-Michael Jackson and Friends (as part of a medley)

-History World Tour : 1996-1997

-30th Anniversary Celebration in 2001 but not performed.

-The song was rehearsed for the planned This Is It concerts in June 2009 and some footage appear in the “This Is It” movie released in 2009.


Short film directed by Bob Giraldi

Date of shooting : March 9, 1983

Date of premiere : March 31, 1983

Official release : Released on DVD in 1995 (History), in 2003 (Number Ones) and in 2010 (Vision) and on Michael’ You Tube official page.



-Shortly after its release, “Beat It” was included in the National Highway Safety Commission’s anti-drunk driving campaign, “Drinking and Driving Can Kill a Friendship”. The song was also included on the accompanying album. Jackson collected an award from President Ronald Reagan at the White House, in recognition for his support of the campaign. Reagan stated that Jackson was “proof of what a person can accomplish through a lifestyle free of alcohol or drug abuse. People young and old respect that. And if Americans follow his example, then we can face up to the problem of drinking and driving, and we can, in Michael’s words, ‘Beat It’.”

-In 1984, American parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic released his parody song “Eat It”. Yankovic recorded the song with Jackson’s permission. The song’s music video mocked the “Beat It” short film scene-for-scene, with Yankovic mimicking Jackson’s dance moves in a clumsy fashion. Jackson received royalties as Jackson was listed as co-writer of “Eat It”.

-For Thriller 25, Black Eyed Peas singer remixed “Beat It”. The song, titled “Beat It 2008”, featured additional vocals by fellow Black Eyed Peas member Fergie. Upon its release in 2008, the song reached No. 26 in Switzerland, the top 50 in Sweden and No. 65 in Austria. This was the second remixed version of “Beat It” to get an official release, following “Moby’s Sub Mix” which was released on the “Jam” and “Who Is It” singles in 1992, as well as the “They Don’t Care About Us” single in 1996 (and re-released as part of the Visionary campaign.

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