Thriller is the sixth studio album by American singer and songwriter Michael Jackson, released on November 30, 1982, by Epic Records. It was produced by Quincy Jones, who had previously worked with Jackson on his 1979 album Off the Wall. Jackson wanted to create an album where "every song was a killer". With the ongoing backlash against disco music at the time, he moved in a new musical direction, resulting in a mix of pop, post-disco, rock, funk, and R&B sounds. Thriller foreshadows the contradictory themes of Jackson's personal life, as he began using a motif of paranoia and darker themes. The album features a single guest appearance, with Paul McCartney becoming the first artist to be credited as a featured artist on one of Jackson's albums. Recording took place from April to November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California, with a production budget of $750,000.
Thriller became Jackson's first number one album on the US Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart, where it spent a record 37 non-consecutive weeks at number one, from February 26, 1983, to April 14, 1984. Seven singles were released: "The Girl Is Mine", "Billie Jean", "Beat It", "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' ", "Human Nature", "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)", and "Thriller". They all reached the top 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, setting the record at the time for the most top 10 singles from an album, with "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" reaching number one. Following Jackson's performance of "Billie Jean" in the Motown 25 television special, where he debuted his signature moonwalk dance, the sales of the album significantly increased, selling one million copies worldwide per week. 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.
With 32 million copies sold worldwide by the end of 1983, Thriller became the best-selling album of all time. It was the best-selling album of 1983 worldwide, and it was the first album to become the best-selling in the United States for two years, in 1983 and 1984. It set the standard for the music industry with its songs, music videos, and promotion strategies influencing artists, record labels, producers, marketers, and choreographers. Jackson's success and immediate influence led to him having a standing of cultural significance that was not attained by a Black American before him in the history of the entertainment industry, with the album's unprecedented popularity breaking racial barriers in popular music, having enabled Jackson's regular appearances on MTV and meeting with US President Ronald Reagan at the White House. Thriller was among the first albums to use music videos as promotional tools; the videos for "Billie Jean", "Beat It" and "Thriller" are credited for transforming music videos into a serious art form.
Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time, with sales of 70 million copies worldwide. It is the second-best-selling album in the United States and was certified 34× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2021. It won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards at the 1984 Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, while "Beat It" won Record of the Year. Jackson also won a record-breaking eight American Music Awards at the 1984 American Music Awards. The album has been a frequent inclusion in lists of the greatest albums of all time. In 2008, it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In the same year, the Library of Congress chose to preserve it to the National Recording Registry of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant recordings".
|associated singles/EPs:||Beat It by Michael Jackson & Eddie Van Halen|
The Girl Is Mine by Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney
|covers:||Thriller Recovered by Various Artists|
|part of:||Z-Trip’s Top Nine 80s Records (number: Honorable Mention) (order: 10)|
Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 2020 edition (number: 12) (order: 12)
Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 2003 edition (number: 20) (order: 20)
Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 2012 edition (number: 20) (order: 20)
Grammy Award: Album of the Year nominees (number: 1984 winner) (order: 26)
|lyrics page:||https://genius.com/albums/Michael-jackson/Thriller [info]|
|other databases:||https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/michael_jackson/thriller/ [info]|
CritiqueBrainz ReviewsThere are 2 reviews on CritiqueBrainz. You can also write your own.
It's hard to believe now, but when Michael Jackson's Thriller was released in the UK in time for Christmas 1982, there was an initial sense of misfire. In choosing the album's most lacklustre track, The Girl Is Mine, as its lead single, the postcard delivered was mildly disappointing. The playful duet with Paul McCartney, chosen no doubt to emulate the success McCartney had had earlier the same year with Stevie Wonder on Ebony and Ivory, was simply not what the listeners were expecting. It reached number eight on the UK chart, and the album sold well, but certainly not in the manner that the man who'd delivered Off the Wall should have done.
By the following Christmas, Thriller had become the phenomenon it remains to this day. Singles kept dropping off the album like golden fruit from a platinum bough: the precision snap of that snare on UK number one Billie Jean; the raucous Eddie Van Halen guitar on Beat It; the groove-driven frenzy of Wanna Be Startin' Something. It became apparent that this was a remarkable, ever-yielding pop jukebox.
By 1984, the album got an extension on its lifecycle with the John Landis-directed video for Thriller, which took the album from successful pop record to cultural icon. Casting the then-clean cut, scandal-free singer as a werewolf in a 15-rated short film was a risk, but one that truly paid off. Soon enough Thriller had become a greatest hits package - seven of its nine tracks were issued as singles.
Love it or hate it, Thriller is pop's great, immovable Everest. Marketing departments realised that more and more singles could be pulled from a record to prolong its shelf life, and Michael Jackson became the King of Pop with the whole of the recording industry at his investiture.
It was, of course, never the same for Jackson after Thriller. All that followed was a long, gradual downhill slope that culminated in some forgettable records and a tragic early death. But this view from the summit remains unparalleled.