Michael Jackson - "Beat it"
Michael Jackson does not read or write music. During his composing process, he sings the melody and vocally imitates the bassline, strings and other parts into a tape recorder. Jackson : "The process is creating a vocal rythm to a click track, which is a sound, a time beat. And I do mouth sounds to that beat. These sounds can be looped according to how you sample it in the computer again and again. This is the foundation for the entire track, everything plays off this. It's the rythm, like the beatbox rythm. Every song I've writtent since I was very little I've done that way and I still do it that way". At times, he sings the sounds directly to the musicians, and when they accurately reproduce his ideas, this is recorded. The tape is then turned to others who transcribe the notes onto staff sheets.
Jackson came up with "Beat it" when his producer, Quincy Jones, encouraged him to write something like "My Sharona", which was a huge hit for The Knack in 1979. Eddie Van Halen played the guitar solo ; he did it as a favor for Quincy Jones. Van Halen wrote the solo by himself and not according to melodies popping out of Jackson's head, though he was not paid for his effort.
Available on the album "Thriller"