This song has a rock edge, which required some serious guitar shredding. Eddie Van Halen was enlisted to play on Jackson's previous guitar-heavy hit, "Beat It
," but his producer Quincy Jones needed someone else for this one. Van Halen's producer Ted Templeman was working for Warner Bros. Records, which had recently signed Billy Idol's guitarist Steve Stevens to a solo deal, so Templeman suggested him to Jones (It was Templeman who suggested Eddie Van Halen for "Beat It").
When Stevens got the call from Jones, it took him a while to believe it was really him, but he was thrilled to get the opportunity. When he played on the track, Stevens was pleasantly surprised. "The song is a lot darker and heavier than I thought I would be playing on, with an underlining current of nastiness to it," he said. "It was great for me - as a guitar player you want to dig in and you want to play aggressively. I was really glad it wasn't like a pop song - it was dark, and it allowed me to dig in to the heavier side of what I do."
Stevens had a great experience working with Jackson. He said: "Michael was very musical. He understood what I was about and was trying to get the best out of my performance. It was a great session."