In 1982 Michael Jackson released the world's largest selling album of all time, Thriller. This album produced 7 hit singles, breaking yet again more records, and went on to sell over 50 million copies worldwide. Michael was keen to use music video or short films as he called them to promote his singles from the album. He worked with the best directors and producers, using the latest technology and special effects for the hit song Billie Jean. The short film Thriller used the latest make-up artists technolgy combined with fantastic dancing and choreography, to produce a 14 minute video, with a start, a middle and an ending. So successful was this video that The making of Michael Jackson's Thriller became the world's largest selling home video combined with soaring album sales. In 1983 Michael performed the now legendary moonwalk for the first time on the 'Motown 25 years' anniversary show. This performance alone set Michael undoubtable into the realm of a superstar. In 1984 Michael won a record breaking 8 Grammy awards in one night. The awards were for his work on the Thriller album and his work on the narrative for the ET Storybook.
Rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen was interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine in 1984. In the interview, he explained why he didn't ask for any royalties over the sales of Beat it, the song on which he plays a guitar solo. "I did it as a favor. I didn't want anything. Maybe Michael will give me dance lessons someday. I was a complete fool, according to the rest of the band [Van Halen], our manager and everybody else. I was not used. I knew what I was doing. I don't do something unless I want to do it."
Steve Lukather: "Quincy Jones and Michael took a skeleton version of Beat it up to Eddie Van Halen's place as they wanted him to solo over the verse section. However, he played over a section that had more chord changes. So to fit his solo to where it went in the song, they had to cut the tape which took a lot of time to synchronise together."
"After they had managed this, Jeff Porcaro and me were called in to bind Eddie's solo and some haphazard percussion which was a major headache. Initially, we rocked it out as Eddie had played a good solo but Quincy thought it too tough. So I had to reduce the distorted guitar sound and this is what was released. It was a huge R&B/rock success for us all really and helped pave the way for the bands of today that fuse these styles."
Steve Lukather in 2004: "I was doing all of Quincy Jones' records back then. I wanted to be a part of this one as Michael was way hot after Off the wall. I remember having a lot of fun and the music was good. Funny story: I was in the house band for the Grammy's "Album of the year" three years in a row. Quincy's The dude record, Toto IV, then Thriller. It was happening big time back then. The last great era of the 'session guy' scene. I had a blast at that time as we were doing almost every record that came out of LA. We took a lot of shit from the press for it; still do, but 28 years later I am still working!!!"