The classic, featuring Eddie Van Halen, topped the tally 30 years ago today.
MJ-mania was in full effect 30 years ago today: a week after Dexy's Midnight Runners ended Michael Jackson's seven-week command of the Billboard Hot 100 with "Billie Jean," the King of Pop returned to the throne with "Beat It," which would rule for three weeks.
"Beat It" became the third of seven Hot 100 top 10s from Jackson's album "Thriller," making the set the first to generate that many top 10s in the chart's history. Certified 29-times Platinum, the album is the top-selling studio set ever, according to the RIAA.
"Beat It" also crowned Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for one week (May 21, 1983) and, with the assistance of Eddie Van Halen on guitar, became Jackson's first Billboard rock chart hit, climbing to No. 14 on Mainstream Rock.
The song's video had its world premiere on MTV on March 31, 1983, helping establish Jackson's star profile in the then-rising medium and further solidifying his standing at the top of pop royalty.