martes, 4 de diciembre de 2012

A 30 años de "Beat It" y el solo de Eddie Van Halen

Para los que sentimos apego por las explosiones guitarreras en lugar de las sutilezas del pop, “Beat It” fue, en su momento, la canción más rescatable del multimillonario álbum "Thriller", obra cumbre del todavía soberano Rey del pop, Michael Jackson. ¿La razón principal? El inconfundible e irrefrenable “tapping” que el violero Eddie Van Halen le imprime al tema que, junto con el disco que lo cobija, acaba de cumplir tres décadas de histórico lanzamiento.





En una reciente charla con CNN, el menor de los Van Halen rememora la historia de su participación en la grabación. Cuenta que el productor Quincy Jones -un verdadero rey Midas de su tiempo- lo llamó para pedirle que se reuniera con ellos en su estudio, aprovechando un hueco en la prolongada gira de su banda. Jones le dio carta blanca a Eddie para que actuara con libertad. "Escuché la canción y de inmediato le dije a Quincy, '¿puedo hacer algunos cambios?'", revela Eddie.

“Lo hice gratis (se refiere a la colaboración)... pero lo más interesante es que me vi involucrado en algunos arreglos extras de la canción mientras Jackson se encontraba fuera del estudio”. Michael se hallaba en un ambiente contiguo haciéndose cargo de otro de los surcos del disco y futuro número uno mundial: “Billy Jean”.





“Me junté con el ingeniero y empezamos, ‘OK, desde el intermedio, corta en esta zona, pon esta pieza, pre-coro, hasta el coro, fuera’, le indiqué. Creo que le tomó unos 10 minutos hacer los cambios y luego procedí a improvisar dos solos encima de esto”. Por fortuna, a Jackson le gustaron los cambios de Eddie, pero, sobre todo, le encantó el hecho de que el guitarrista haya metido -literalmente- los dedos más de la cuenta en el esqueleto del tema.





El guitarrista por supuesto no cobró ni un dólar por su colaboración, tampoco apareció en los créditos finales del disco, omisión que le hizo vivir una divertida anécdota. “Un día me encontraba en las oficinas de Tower Records y entonces sonó ‘Beat it’. De inmediato escucho que dos muchachos situados frente a mí criticaban la canción. Cuando viene la parte del solo de guitarra oigo a uno de ellos decir: ‘escucha a ese tipo intentando tocar como Eddie Van Halen’. Me aproximé a él, le di unos golpecitos en el hombro y le dije, ‘ese soy yo’, realmente fue un momento muy hilarante”.



La colaboración de Eddie en “Beat It” quedó como una de las piezas más memorables en la historia del rock & pop. Personalmete fue como el eslabón perfecto que hermanó el poderío el rock and roll con el pop de aquella época. ¿Cuánto facturaría hoy en día la colaboración del guitarrista teniendo en cuenta las cifras que generó el álbum?

Te dejo con una versión en vivo de "Beat It" con Michael, Eddie y sus hermanos, los Jackson, en el escenario.


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