On this day in 1983: Michael Jackson started a three week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Beat It.’ It was produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. Quincy Jones encouraged Jackson to include a rock song on the album, though Jackson had never previously shown an interest in the genre. Jackson later said of “Beat It”, “I wanted to write a song, the type of song that I would buy if I were to buy a rock song… That is how I approached it and I wanted the children to really enjoy it—the school children as well as the college students.”
The song is also notable for its music video, which features Jackson bringing two gangsters together through the power of music and dance, and for Eddie Van Halen’s guitar solo. The music video helped establish Jackson as an international pop icon. “Beat It” has been cited as one of the most successful, recognized, awarded and celebrated songs in the history of pop music ; both the song and video had a large impact on pop culture.