Jennifer Batten revisits the time she re-taught Eddie Van Halen his Beat It solo

“I’d say he picked it up again mighty quickly!”

Jennifer Batten / Eddie Van Halen

Photos: Larry Hulst / Michael Ochs Archive / Getty, Ross Morino / Getty

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American musician Jennifer Batten, known for tenure as Michael Jackson’s touring guitarist, recently shared about the time she re-taught Eddie Van Halen the Beat It solo he wrote.

Speaking to Guitar World, Batten spoke about meeting the late Van Halen in the 80s, while on break from Jackson’s Bad tour. Arriving at a gig she was about to play, she found out Van Halen was next door and wanted her to play the Beat It solo for him. Reluctant, Batten declined at first, but after some persuasion she did – and the late icon even asked her for a quick refresher.

“It was one of those nasty L.A. days where the traffic is awful and it’s hotter than hell. I showed up late, totally stressed out,” she said in the interview. “And the manager of the band greeted my car and said, ‘Eddie Van Halen’s next door… and he wants you to prove that you can play the Beat It solo.’

“That was just overload from how my day had gone. And my immediate reaction was no.”

She continued: “Eventually Eddie’s tech came over and asked if I would come and meet him. And I said, ‘I would love to.’ And as soon as I walked in the room, he put his guitar on me and wanted me to play the solo.

“So, of course, I did. As soon as I finished, he grabbed the guitar and asked me to remind him how the solo went. Because it’s not something he had played with Van Halen – it was a one-off in the studio and then he went on his way. But I’d say he picked it up again mighty quickly!”

The guitar solo on Beat It remains one of Van Halen’s most memorable guitar moments. Despite its stature, it wasn’t a bit that the late guitar great would revisit often since laying it down in the studio.

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