Guitar players who backed Michael Jackson..

Posted by: Daniel R. Lehrman Posted in: Guitar Players

Having wanted to say something in regard to the unfortunate death of Michael Jackson, I was at a loss for words until today. It seems that every music blog authored a post the day after his death, with, pretty much the same stuff. It took me a week to figure out what I could say. Here is bit of info concerning the guitar players who backed him on “Thriller”.

Michael Jackson commanded a lot of respect. He deserved it. A genius for sure. But, I’ll bet you have no idea what two ultra famous gentlemen played the guitar on “Billie Jean” of the Thriller album, and are still living.

Remember, chronologically, these three men were peers. Believe it or not, if Michael Jackson was 50 at the time of death, that would make Eddie Van Halen 54 years old and Steve Lukather 52 years old. Making these men peers.

Eddie Van Halen was called in by Quincy Jones to play guitar on the song Beat It, from Michael Jackson’s 1982 album, “Thriller”. World class guitar player Steve Lukather of Toto played the main guitar riff and rhythm, with Eddie playing a solo that was allegedly blended from three different takes.

I have seen Steve Lukather and Toto in concert. He more than exceeded my expectations, basically doing anything he wanted to with his guitar. I have not Eddie Van Halen Yet, but I will when he comes to my territory in Florida.

The overwhelming success of the ‘track’ played a key role in getting T.V. videos kick-started into what they are today.. The combination of Jackson’s pop sensibilities, Quincy Jones’ production and Van Halen’s guitar work molded several styles of music, helping each to find new fans. Famously, Eddie refused the money he was offered for playing on the track based on the limited budget the project was allowed.

One more interesting vibe on Michael Jackson. He never wrote even one of his songs down on paper. He used a small recorder to record his thoughts and sang his songs entirely from memory when he performed. Some of his lack of wring down his thoughts may have been due to a lack of having an even somewhat normal childhood, which includes going to school.

That’s it, I was not his biggest fan, obviously having Jimi Hendrix as my Guitar God immediately shows a contrast in music styles, though I do appreciate his talent and enjoyed the heck out of the ‘Thriller T.V. video. Guitar Players Center hopes to have added a small vibe about Michael Jackson, you did not know. RIP Michael..

6 Responses to Guitar players who backed Michael Jackson..

  1. Hey, great and well timed tribute to Michael Jackson. I wasn’t a huge fan, but his death saddened me.

  2. Very interesting bit of history! I’m not a huge fan — but who wasn’t mesmerized by his performing — a truly gifted performer with an incredibly sad life.

  3. I know the video with Eddie playing the solo on stage with Michael Jackson, I remember seeing it on YouTube, of course…

  4. Thanks for a short and interesting post on the music of Michael Jackson. Like many others I have been reading lots about the tragedy of Michael Jackson’s life, while I am remembering the music and that I grew up with MJ, being just a year younger than he.

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