Even though he's commonly known to be the King of Pop, Michael Jackson's pure, unadulterated genius wasn't often put on show — he favored (dangerous) pyrotechnics and cinematic music videos over any kind of unplugged or deconstructed display. Even if you were lucky enough to catch the moon-walker live, the show was likely polished to a high shine.
Now, a demo of "Beat It" has surfaced highlighting the creative process that went into one of pop's biggest hits. BuzzFeed's Matthew Perpetua explains that, despite Jackson's inability to play instruments himself, he would compose each element (bass, drums, etc.) with his voice. The video below shows just that. Each layer of what would eventually become "Beat It" is here, all sung by Jackson himself.
Perpetua cites GQ's 2009 profile on the artist, saying: "Some of the things Michael hears in his head he exports to another instrument, to the piano (which he plays not well but passably) or to the bass. The melody and a few percussive elements remain with his vocal." But, enough with the words. The proof is in the sound. (BuzzFeed)