8. "Beat It"
A visionary mix of metal bluster and disco glitz, complete with a headbanger's ball of an Eddie Van Halen guitar eruption. With its down-in-jungleland video, "Beat It" crashed rock radio along with every other station on the dial, reaching Number One just a week after "Billie Jean" ended its seven-week run at the top. (The song that hit Number One in between? Dexys Midnight Runners' "Come on Eileen.") "Beat It" was the last song added to Thriller, as the clock was ticking to the release date. As Quincy Jones told Rolling Stone, "When we were finishing 'Beat It,' we had three studios going. We had Eddie Van Halen in one. Michael was in another singing a part through a cardboard tube, and we were mixing in another. We were working five nights and five days with no sleep. And at one point, the speakers overloaded and caught on fire." The only person not blown away was Van Halen's David Lee Roth, who scoffed, "What did Edward do with Michael Jackson? He went in and played the same fucking solo he's been playing in this band for 10 years. Big deal!"