Michael Jackson Thriller Album Released
Updated: Jan 29, 2020
37 years ago today, November 30, 1982, Michael Jackson's "Thriller", his sixth and most successful album, was released on by Epic Records. Producer Quincy Jones, who Jackson collaborated with on his previous album, "Off The Wall" aspired to create an album where "every song was a killer". Jackson moved in a much different musical direction from the disco-heavy, Off the Wall. The album recording took place from April to November, 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, with a production budget of $750,000. Thriller explores genres including pop, post-disco, rock and funk. The "Thriller" music video, was premiered to great anticipation in December 1983 and played regularly on MTV, which also increased the sales of the album. The album was one of the first to use music videos as successful promotional tools, and the videos for the songs "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" and the short film Michael Jackson's Thriller all received regular rotation on MTV and are credited for transforming music videos into a serious art form, with the latter also popularizing short films in the music industry. Here is the shortened version of the Thriller music video:
Thriller peaked at number one on the Billboard 200. It produced seven singles: "The Girl Is Mine", "Billie Jean", (In which the famous "moonwalk" was invented), "Beat It", "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' ", "Human Nature", "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)", and "Thriller". All the singles reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, breaking the record for most top 10 singles from an album, with "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" reaching number one on the chart. By 1983, Thriller became the world's best-selling album, having sold 32 million copies. It was the best-selling album worldwide of 1983 and 1984, and was also the best-selling album in the United States in 1983 and 1984, making it the first album to be the country's best-selling for two years. It spent a record 37 weeks at number one on the Billboard 200. Here are the official music videos of two other successful singles from the Thriller album that ran on MTV:
A short documentary clip with behind the scenes footage of the making of the Thriller Album:
In 1984, a pop art of Jackson designed by Andy Warhol was featured on the cover of Time Magazine, who acclaimed the impact of the album, saying "The pulse of America and much of the rest of the world moves irregularly, beating in time to the tough strut of 'Billie Jean', the asphalt aria of 'Beat It', the supremely cool chills of 'Thriller'." Thriller broke racial barriers in popular music, enabling Jackson's appearances on MTV and meeting with President Ronald Reagan at the White House.
Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, with sales of 66 million copies worldwide. It is the second-best-selling album in the United States and was the first to reach 30x Platinum (3x Diamond), with 33 million certified album-equivalent units. The album won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year (for "Beat It"). Thriller is viewed by critics and publications as one of the greatest albums of all time. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant recordings", and Michael Jackson's Thriller was inducted into the National Film Preservation Board's National Film Registry of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films". Regarding the importance of Thriller, Rolling Stone wrote; "It's hard to imagine the present-day musical landscape without Thriller, which changed the game both sonically and marketwise."
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