I love Eddie Van Halen's story about this song: Eddie Van Halen's iconic guitar riff is now known as the centerpiece of "Beat It," but when Quincy Jones approached Van Halen to record on the track, he thought it was a joke. According to Stereogum, Eddie Van Halen reportedly hung up on and cursed at Quincy Jones four times before realizing it wasn't a prank call. While Eddie Van Halen usually avoided taking any side gigs while working with his band Van Halen, he agreed to the collaboration, but he had two rules: Van Halen wouldn't be credited, and Jackson wouldn't tell the rest of his bandmates. As Thriller and its hit "Beat It" climbed the charts, Eddie Van Halen was shocked to see it outpace his band's own album, 1984. Van Halen later told CNN in 2012, "I said to myself, 'Who is going to know that I played on this kid's record, right? Nobody's going to find out.' Wrong! Big-time wrong. It ended up being Record of the Year." Then, Eddie Van Halen found himself perusing a Tower Records in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles when "Beat It" came on over the stereo. Some nearby customers mused that the song's guitar solo sounded almost exactly like the playing of Van Halen himself. He tapped the record store kids on the shoulder and fessed up that it was him. While Eddie Van Halen's 20-second guitar solo on "Beat It" seems to transcend all space and time, in fact, it only took the legend half an hour to record. Of course, not without rearranging the entire song first. Reportedly, Quincy Jones had told Van Halen to do, "Whatever you want to do," per CNN. Eddie Van Halen had the boldness to actually take him up on it. After a first listen to the rough track, Van Halen chopped different sections of the chorus and reworked the middle of the song, and then promptly recorded two masterful, blazing guitar solos on top. Instead of thinking Eddie Van Halen had butchered his new track, Michael Jackson was grateful. Van Halen recalled to CNN that Jackson told him he made the song that much better. "Thank you so much for having the passion to not just come in and blaze a solo, but to actually care about the song," Jackson allegedly said.