Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
Michael Jackson’s sixth solo album Thriller exploded onto the music scene in 1983. A year later, he released “Beat It” as the album’s third single and won two Grammys. As of September 2010, “Beat it” has been downloaded over 1.6 million times. The music video is just as iconic as the song; there is no other instance where a knife fight between tough gang leaders could devolve into synchronized arm flaps/pelvic thrusts and still be taken seriously.
While Michael’s death last year sparked a flurry of YouTube tributes to the King of Pop, “Beat it” has generated a wide range of interpretations ever since its debut. Ranking #337 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list, its popularity has inspired artists worldwide, from off-key amateurs to Fall Out Boy (ft. John Mayer, no less). Here are five of the best.