Yes, he had something to prove, and he did. Michael said "I wanted to write the type of rock song that I would go out and buy. But also something totally different from the rock music I was hearing on Top 40 radio."

FACT: Eddie Van Halen played the guitar solo. He did it as a favor for Quincy Jones and was paid  two 6-packs of beer Jones brought into the studio for Eddie.

FACT: At approx 2:45 into the song, there is an audible knocking noise just before Eddie Van Halen starts his guitar solo. It was an intentional sound created by Michael Jackson banging on a drum case. On the Thriller credits, Jackson is listed on "Beat It" as "Drum Case Beat.