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At number 53 in BBC Radio 2’s 100 greatest guitar riffs is “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. This song, released in February 1983, is taken from his album “Thriller”; one of the best selling albums of all time and an album which could well hold the record for the largest number of singles released from it. I blogged about “Thriller” here, as it is number 20 in the Rolling Stone Magazine list of the 500 greatest albums.

This song is, for me, quite different from most of Michael Jackson’s songs from this period, and is one of my favourites. This is due, in no small part, to the great guitar riff in the song, which is played by Eddie Van Halen; “Beat It” is much rockier than most of MJ’s songs. The song got to number 1 in both the Disunited Kingdom and USA’s singles charts; in fact it was a huge hit around much of the World.



At number 53 in BBC Radio 2's list of the 100 greatest guitar riffs is "Beat It" by Michael Jackson

At number 53 in BBC Radio 2’s list of the 100 greatest guitar riffs is the 1983 hit single “Beat It” by Michael Jackson




[1st Verse]
They Told Him Don’t You Ever Come Around Here
Don’t Wanna See Your Face, You Better Disappear
The Fire’s In Their Eyes And Their Words Are Really Clear
So Beat It, Just Beat It

[2nd Verse]
You Better Run, You Better Do What You Can
Don’t Wanna See No Blood, Don’t Be A Macho Man
You Wanna Be Tough, Better Do What You Can
So Beat It, But You Wanna Be Bad

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It

[3rd Verse]
They’re Out To Get You, Better Leave While You Can
Don’t Wanna Be A Boy, You Wanna Be A Man
You Wanna Stay Alive, Better Do What You Can
So Beat It, Just Beat It

[4th Verse]
You Have To Show Them That You’re Really Not Scared
You’re Playin’ With Your Life, This Ain’t No Truth Or Dare
They’ll Kick You, Then They Beat You,
Then They’ll Tell You It’s Fair
So Beat It, But You Wanna Be Bad

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It

[Chorus]
Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Who’s Right

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right

[Chorus]
Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong Or Right
Just Beat It, Beat It
Beat It, Beat It, Beat It


Here is the official video of this song. Apparently Eddie van Halen was prevented from appearing in the video by his record company. It is also before Michael Jackson became a freak, and was at his best.





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At number 20 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest albums is “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. If this were a list of the “best selling albums ever” then this album would be number one; “Thriller” has sold about 65 million copies Worldwide.



Firefox008



“Thriller” was released in 1982, and was Michael Jackson’s sixth solo album. It was preceded by “Off the wall” and was followed by “Bad”. This is a screen capture from the Wikipedia page about Thriller.




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The video for the single “Thriller” was a breakthrough in its length and complex coordinated dancing. It is more like a mini-film than a video, with a long lead-in before the song starts where Michael Jackson woos a girlfriend, played by an ex-Playboy model Ola Ray.



So, if “Thriller” has sold more copies than any other album, how come this albums is at number 20 and not at number 1 in this list? Remember, this Rolling Stone list is not a list of best selling albums. When we get to number one, which I will tell you now is The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band” (that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone!), we can discuss maybe why the top 10 are the albums they are, and why “Sgt. Pepper” comes out top of nearly every list of greatest albums ever. We will see that most of the top 10 in this list are not in the list of top 10 best selling albums.

Maybe the thing that was so different about “Thriller” was how many singles were released from it. Back in the 1960s, in what could be called the rise of “the album”, The Beatles would not include most of their single releases on their albums. The album considered to be the greatest of all time, Beatles album “Sgt. Pepper” does not contain one track which was released as a single. The single and album market were seen as totally separate markets.

Throughout the 1970s there seemed to be an unwritten rule that an artist would release two or maybe three singles at most from an album. Often it was just one track, and anything more was conning the public. “Thriller” changed all that. There are nine tracks on the album, and of those nine no less than seven (yes, 7!!) were released as singles.

Do you think this album deserves to be higher than number 20? Do you think it deserves to be the best selling album of all time?

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