Beat It Release Date: Music Video and Live Performances!
American singer Michael Jackson’s sixth studio album, Thriller, contains the song “Beat It” (1982). Jackson and Quincy Jones both produced it in addition to writing it. Jackson received encouragement from Jones to add a rock song to the album. In a later interview, Jackson stated: “I wanted to write a song that I would purchase if I were to purchase a rock song… and I wanted the kids to really enjoy it—the school kids as well as the college kids.” Eddie Van Halen plays a guitar solo in it.
Production and Composition
At his home studio, Jackson first collaborated with musicians to create a demo of the song. A drum machine was used to programme the drum part, and a Bell Labs Digital Synthesizer Synergy keyboard and an electric bass guitar were used to create the bass line. The main recording session used this hybrid bass playing style.
The song has a moderately fast tempo of 138 beats per minute and is performed in the key of E minor. Jackson’s vocal range in the song is from B3 to A5.
Jones remarked that the first vocals were exactly what he had been searching for. Tom Bahler is credited with playing the Synclavier digital synthesiser, which is used in the song’s opening seven distinct synthesiser notes. The “The Incredible Sounds of Synclavier II” demo LP, which was first released in 1981 by Denny Jaeger Creative Services, Inc. and was sold by New England Digital, the company that created the Synclavier, served as the inspiration for the intro. Jeff Porcaro, who is also a co-founder of Toto, played the drums.
According to Jermaine Jackson, the Jackson family’s experiences with gang activity in Gary, Indiana served as the basis for “Beat It” and its accompanying video. “We saw about three violent clashes between rival gangs from our front window.” “Beat Itlyrics “‘s have been called a “sad commentary on human nature.” Jackson’s distaste for violence is reportedly conveyed in the line “don’t be a macho man,” which also alludes to the abuse he endured as a child at the hands of his father Joseph.
Release and Reception
“Beat It” was released in early 1983, following the successful chart performances of “The Girl Is Mine” and “Billie Jean“. Frank DiLeo, the vice president of Epic Records, convinced Jackson to release “Beat It”, because he was heading towards number one. The single remained at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for a total of three weeks. Billboard ranked it at the No. 5 song for 1983. “Beat It” has been recognized with several awards.
The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of at least one million units. At the 1984 Grammy Awards, the song earned Jackson two of record-eight awards: Record of the Year and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. The track won the Billboard Music Award for favorite dance/disco 12 LP in 1983.
Music Video and Live Performances
The video for “Beat It” was Jackson’s first treatment of black youth and the streets. The video, which cost Jackson $150,000 to create after CBS refused to finance it, was filmed on Skid Row in L.A. around March 9, 1983. “Beat It” was the second video released for the Thriller album. The video had its world premiere on MTV during prime time on March 31, 1983.
Contrary to popular belief, the video was not based on the Broadway musical West Side Story. Instead, Bob Giraldi drew inspiration from his growing up in Paterson, New Jersey. The video received recognition through numerous awards. Rolling Stone ranked it as the No. 1 video, in both their critic’s and reader’s polls. The video was later inducted into the Music Video Producer’s Hall of Fame. Jackson performed “Beat It” live with his brothers during The Jacksons’ Victory Tour.
“Beat It” has been cited as one of the most successful, recognized, awarded, and celebrated songs in the history of pop music. The song was included in the National Highway Safety Commission’s anti-drunk driving campaign, “Drinking and Driving Can Kill a Friendship”. Jackson collected an award from President Ronald Reagan at the White House for his support of the campaign. A remix of “2 Bad”, is featured on Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix.