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Old 12-03-2012, 02:17 PM  
Deberg_1990 Deberg_1990 is offline
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Eddie Van Halen deconstructs his collaboration on 'Beat It'

Interesting....Classic song...classic album



http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/30/showbi...?iref=obinsite




Eddie Van Halen sits on a sofa in his home studio, smoking an electronic cigarette and reminiscing about the 30th anniversary of Michael Jackson's masterpiece album, "Thriller."

"It seems like yesterday, doesn't it," he says softly. "It would have been fun to work with him again."

Van Halen was a surprise guest on "Beat It," the album's third single. His blazing guitar solo lasted all of 20 seconds and took half an hour to record. He did it for free, as a favor to producer Quincy Jones, while the rest of his Van Halen bandmates were out of town.

"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!" he laughs. "Big-time wrong. It ended up being Record of the Year."

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer recently revealed to CNN what went on behind-the-scenes of his iconic collaboration with the King of Pop.

CNN: When Quincy rang you up, you thought it was a crank call.

Eddie Van Halen: I went off on him. I went, "What do you want, you f-ing so-and-so!" And he goes, "Is this Eddie?" I said, "Yeah, what the hell do you want?" "This is Quincy." I'm thinking to myself, "I don't know anyone named Quincy." He goes, "Quincy Jones, man." I went, "Ohhh, sorry!" (Laughs)

I asked, "What can I do for you?" And he said, "How would you like to come down and play on Michael Jackson's new record?" And I'm thinking to myself, "OK, 'ABC, 1, 2, 3' and me. How's that going to work?"

I still wasn't 100% sure it was him. I said, "I'll tell you what. I'll meet you at your studio tomorrow." And lo and behold, when I get there, there's Quincy, there's Michael Jackson and there's engineers. They're makin' records!

CNN: Did Quincy give you any direction about what he wanted you to do?

Van Halen: Michael left to go across the hall to do some children's speaking record. I think it was "E.T." or something. So I asked Quincy, "What do you want me to do?" And he goes, "Whatever you want to do." And I go, "Be careful when you say that. If you know anything about me, be careful when you say, "Do anything you want!"

I listened to the song, and I immediately go, "Can I change some parts?" I turned to the engineer and I go, "OK, from the breakdown, chop in this part, go to this piece, pre-chorus, to the chorus, out." Took him maybe 10 minutes to put it together. And I proceeded to improvise two solos over it.

I was just finishing the second solo when Michael walked in. And you know artists are kind of crazy people. We're all a little bit strange. I didn't know how he would react to what I was doing. So I warned him before he listened. I said, "Look, I changed the middle section of your song."

Now in my mind, he's either going to have his bodyguards kick me out for butchering his song, or he's going to like it. And so he gave it a listen, and he turned to me and went, "Wow, thank you so much for having the passion to not just come in and blaze a solo, but to actually care about the song, and make it better."

He was this musical genius with this childlike innocence. He was such a professional, and such a sweetheart.

CNN: That collaboration surprised a lot of people.

Van Halen: I'll never forget when Tower Records was still open over here in Sherman Oaks. I was buying something, and "Beat It" was playing over the store sound system. The solo comes on, and I hear these kids in front of me going, "Listen to this guy trying to sound like Eddie Van Halen." I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "That IS me!" That was hilarious.

CNN: How did you explain to the guys in Van Halen what had happened?

Van Halen: I just said, "You know. (Shrugs) Busted!" "Dave, you were out of the country!" "Al, you weren't around!" I couldn't call anyone and ask for permission.

Unfortunately, "Thriller" kept our album, "1984," from going to No. 1. Our album was just about ready to go No. 1 when he burned his hair in that Pepsi commercial, if you remember that. And boom, he went straight to No. 1 again!

CNN: Is there an album since then that has shaken things up in the same way?

Van Halen: Wow, I don't know.

CNN: Some people cite Nirvana's "Nevermind" has one that caused a musical shift.

Van Halen: But still not like that. Not that crossed over to such a mass audience. Nirvana was huge, but it didn't appeal to everyone.

I have a lot of respect for Michael. He's going to be sorely missed. I'd be curious as to what he'd be doing right now.

CNN: I believe Quincy has said he paid you in two six packs of beer.

Van Halen: Yeah, something like that. Actually, I brought my own, if I remember right.

I don't even think I'm credited on the record. It just says, "Guitar solo: Question Mark" or "Guitar solo: Frankenstein" (the name of his guitar).

CNN: Did you ever hear from Quincy again?

Van Halen: At the very end, Quincy wrote me a letter thanking me. It was signed, "The F-ing Blah Blah Blah," which I still have. It's very funny.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:50 PM   #46
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those were the days when they made music.
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:52 PM   #47
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Van Halen: I'll never forget when Tower Records was still open over here in Sherman Oaks. I was buying something,
What are the odds he bought whatever he bought from Jimmy Pardo?

Ironically, Jimmy, Matt, and Gillmartin did a round robin of Thriller [along with several KISS albums and Chicago's Greatest Hits] to see who was stumped for a track first on the most recent Never Not Funny.



Beat was THE SHIT in '83. One of my funniest [dryly funny] remembrances of JHS was the 83/84 JHS talent show.
Thriller had JUST come out, this was Dec '83, or Jan 84, can't recall exactly, and a 9th grader had already mastered all of MJ's moves, the Moonwalk, the hip point, the front kick, the jizz spray rotate, all of them.

And he did a move for move performance of 'Beat It' for the talent show to much acclaim. Had backup dancers to do the easy moves while he moonwalked back and forth, even found a guy who could do the jackhammer chin move that one dude did at the 'big fight.'

Well, I participated in the TS was well soloing in the JHS jazz band performance of 'Take the A-Train' [decent, capable, but not accolade garnering]. There was a guy who played trombone in the band who was the epitome of a teenaged William F. Buckley, ever patrician, ever nerdy, yet ever apparently cerebral to a JHS cohort. I was standing beside him just after our performance watching Mr. Moonwalk strut his stuff and he stared in awe and announced to all within earshot 'that man is a hell of a performer.'

A memory as fresh as the day it happened.
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Last edited by Baby Lee; 12-03-2012 at 07:01 PM..
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Old 12-03-2012, 06:55 PM   #48
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I know! Eddies old!

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Old 12-03-2012, 06:59 PM   #49
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those were the days when they made music.
It's really something being old enough to remember when Michael Jackson was cool. And black. And human.
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:05 PM   #50
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It's really something being old enough to remember when Michael Jackson was cool. And black. And human.
I truly believe that Beat It was the last time I found him 'cool.' Even then it was 'wimpy cool.'

After that, even with the Thriller vid, moving into Bad and Man in the Mirror, etc., he was already talented but weird. I was just 12-13 and I knew that him going to the movies with a real live actual girl, as in Thriller, was what the LA types called 'creative licence.'

The 'black or white' facial morphs was cool tech, but skinny wimp Michael beating the **** out of an abandoned Impala was just strange. 'Man, he's really mad at that crappy car.'
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:54 PM   #51
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What are the odds he bought whatever he bought from Jimmy Pardo?

Ironically, Jimmy, Matt, and Gillmartin did a round robin of Thriller [along with several KISS albums and Chicago's Greatest Hits] to see who was stumped for a track first on the most recent Never Not Funny.


My daughter is best friend's with Matt's daughter. They go to the same preschool and we hang out all the time for play dates.

That said, I've never checked out his comedy. And no, Jimmy's not related to Don Pardo. Apparently, I wasn't the first to ask.

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Old 12-03-2012, 08:04 PM   #52
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I was there, if it was the one where they opened for Eddie Money, Steve Miller and Kansas. 1978 if I remember right.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:09 PM   #53
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Actually this isn't entirely true...while Toto was involved with some production aspects they only wrote the song "Human Nature" on the Thriller Album. The rest of the songs were written by either Michael Jackson (Wanna Be Startin Somethin, Billie Jean, Beat It, The Girl is Mine) or Rod Temperton.
Okay, here goes:

1. Toto members were session players on every Thriller track, whether it was Lukather, Steve Pocaro, Jeff Pocao, David Paich, etc. and so on. Other great players included Dean Parks, Michael Boddicker and basically the "Who's who" of the LA Session scene.

2. As far as production is concerned, Thriller featured the greatest session players and arrangers of all time including Jerry Hey, Dean Parks, David Foster (who was later a brilliant producer), Humberto Gattica and the amazing Bruce Swedien, who recorded Michael's vocals with a $150 dollar microphone at the time ($349 now), the Shure SM7. Everyone who's ever watched a radio broadcast or been in a radio booth knows the SM7.

Michael was the magic.

3. Michael was not a musician. He couldn't play any instrument. Therefore, he couldn't compose music, hence he didn't actually write every song in which he was listed as writer.

Ghost writers wrote the record and those ghost writers were Toto. This is not uncommon. Ozzy Osbourne can't play an instrument and doesn't write lyrics, yet he's listed as a songwriter throughout his solo career. Bob Daisley wrote the lyrics early on and other writers have been brought in subsequently. I could go on and on and about this subject.

Frank Sinatra couldn't play an instrument and never composed music but in his vast arrogance, suggested that HE received publishing royalties, which are reserved for songwriters and composers only, because HE made the songs famous.

Unfortunately, managers and other artists picked up on this notion down the road and said "I own 50% of whatever you write and record for ME".

The bottom line is that Thriller was a culmination of the greatest musicians and Los Angeles session players the world had ever heard in one singular record. The producers were top notch, from Quincy to Swedien to Gattaca, acting as "engineers" on an amazing record.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:16 PM   #54
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:48 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by DaneMcCloud View Post
Frank Sinatra couldn't play an instrument and never composed music but in his vast arrogance, suggested that HE received publishing royalties, which are reserved for songwriters and composers only, because HE made the songs famous.

Unfortunately, managers and other artists picked up on this notion down the road and said "I own 50% of whatever you write and record for ME".
Paul Anka is probably the greatest victim of this sort of mentality as far as I can see. He wrote the theme for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and was strong armed out of any royalties. They all went to Johnny…
Neil Diamond is on the opposite end of the scale where he receives royalties left and right for songs he wrote for other people where no one knows he wrote them.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:00 PM   #56
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:10 PM   #57
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Paul Anka is probably the greatest victim of this sort of mentality as far as I can see. He wrote the theme for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and was strong armed out of any royalties. They all went to Johnny…
Actually, this is false.

The Johnny Carson Show theme was an instrumental version of an Anka song called "Toot Sweet". Anka received his Writer's share of the income but it's likely that since it was used by Carson's production company, it collected the Publisher's Share.

This is standard practice. There are very few production companies that allow composers to participate in Publishing royalties at a 50% rate, let alone, 100%.

Song shares are typically distributed as follows:

50% Writer, 50% Publisher. If Johnny Carson's company published the song, they'd be entitled to 100% of the Publisher's earnings. The writer, Paul Anka, would be entitled to 100% of the Writer's share of earnings.

It's rare in Film & TV that the writer would get a percentage of the Publisher's portion but if so, the equation for royalties would be as follows:

50% Writer's Share: Anka
25% Publisher's Share: Carson
25% Publisher's Share (Anka's Publishing Company).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadzooks View Post
Neil Diamond is on the opposite end of the scale where he receives royalties left and right for songs he wrote for other people where no one knows he wrote them.
But that doesn't mean that he's collecting Publisher's Share. If those songs were considered "Work For Hire", he'd only be entitled on Writer's Share.

It's a really tricky, complicated business.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:36 PM   #58
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I wish I knew this crap back in the early 90's with my shitty Metal Band. We would have made a fortune!
The Paul Anka story comes from a Stern interview from 2002 or so... He must have sour grapes for not cashing in on some of the ongoing royalties.
The Neil Diamond piece is based off of a Corolla rant where he says when trying to come up with a soundtrack to a movie you tend to find out that even the most obscure song you've ever liked was probably written by Neil Diamond and therefore is too expensive to use in your film.
Publishing has always been a mystery to me and yet it’s most likely the most important thing any “professional” musician should know about.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:43 PM   #59
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I wish I knew this crap back in the early 90's with my shitty Metal Band. We would have made a fortune!
The Paul Anka story comes from a Stern interview from 2002 or so... He must have sour grapes for not cashing in on some of the ongoing royalties.
The Neil Diamond piece is based off of a Corolla rant where he says when trying to come up with a soundtrack to a movie you tend to find out that even the most obscure song you've ever liked was probably written by Neil Diamond and therefore is too expensive to use in your film.
Publishing has always been a mystery to me and yet it’s most likely the most important thing any “professional” musician should know about.
Neil Diamond was a legendary "Brill Building" songwriter and he most certainly earns writer royalties on everything he's written. Those guys basically put ASCAP on the map. The only reason his songs aren't getting more film and TV placements is because his publishing company is charging exorbitant sync fees, likely because he feels his music is too "important" to be exploited.

That said, he didn't seem to have a problem with that dopey movie "Saving Silverman" using his music, in which he played himself and had several song uses.

FYI, I LOVE Neil Diamond and my comments are not meant to be derogatory.
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:59 PM   #60
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