Thriller Album is Michael’s sixt studio Album – and the best selling album of all time in human history. How can one human being become so successful? Of all the musicians, poets, bands. What is the difference between Michael Jackson and the others? Is it talent, is it hard work, is it the ability to charm the masses? We wil try to answer the Thriller Album Background, the reasons for its success, present all the thriller album songs, all the releases, sales data and awards.
Thriller in a minute
Since Michael was a very young boy he dreamed of recording the biggest selling album of all time. Michael worked with Quincy Jones as producer and Rod Temperton who wrote three songs including the title track “Thriller”. Song The Girl is mine is a ballad with Paul McCartney which made Album very popular with white audience.
Thriller was released in 1982. The Album won eight Grammy Awards at 1984 and spent 37 consecutive weeks at number one on Billboard 200. Thriller sold 120 million copies worldwide, selling one millions copies per week at its peak.
Thriller Album Background
Thriller was a follow-up of Jackson’s well accepted Off the Wall. The years after Off the Wall were very important for Michael and for us to understand the atmosphere in which Thriller developed. This were probably some of the hardest years of Michael’s life. In this period Michael became deeply unhappy, lonely and felt undervalued in the Music industry.
Some of you might remember that in 1982 black musicians were still not equal as white. Some of the major magazines refused to interview him or made a cover story and that made Michael very sad. Even though he was putting a lot of efforts in his music, he was not valued enough.
It was then he decided he will become the biggest and the wealthiest star in show business. If there is something we can expose in Michael’s character it is sure his determination to perfection and love for music. He set a goal to create an album where every song would become a major hit. And that’s when the Triller Album story started.
Recording of the Thriller Album
Thriller Album was recorded between April and November 1982 in WestLake Recording Studios (LA, California). Jackson worked on Thriller album with producer Quincy Jones and created 30 songs from which 9 of them were included in the original Thriller Album.
Recording was not easy, because Michael and Quincy disagreed on several things. For instance Jones believed Billie Jean was not good enough to be included on the record and tried to shorten the intro. But Michael followed his instinct and keept it because the song made him want to dance. And he was sure right! Beat it become one of the leading singles of the album. One thing Michael and Quincy agreed on was they wanted to create a rock song that would differ from Off the Wall’s pop sound. They invited Van Halen’s lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen to play the guitar for Beat it! What a powerfull combination.
There were several other known musicans working with Michael including members of band Toto, Paul McCartney (The Girl is Mine), Louis Johnson, Gary Grant, La Toya and Janet Jackson and others.
Releases of Thriller Album
Thriller was released on November 30 1982 and sold more copies than any other music Album. Thriller is exceptional in another way, that is 7 of 9 songs on the Album were released as singles. First released song from the Album was “The Girl is Mine”, a duet with Paul McCartney. Some critics saw it as bowing to the white audience, but that would not stop MJ. Next single was Billie Jean, which topped immediately on all charts worldwide and introduced the Album in whole different way. With strong base line, song was a breed of fresh air and paved the way to other singles on the album.
Most music critics graded Thriller Album positive with a different, dark message and a mixture of several genres which were previously never combined.
The Album won 8 Grammy Awards in 1984, including Album of the Year. Thriller was recognized as best-selling album on the world on 7th of February, 1984. The record still stands with 120,000,000 copies sold to date!
3 releases of Thriller Album
- Original Thriller Album, released November 30, 1982
- Thriller: Special Edition, released October 16, 2001
- Thriller 25, released February 2008
Influence on Music Industry
Thriller Music Video and MTV
Before Thriller, Michael Jackson had struggled to get air time on MTV. They just did not play music from black artists. There was a lot of pressure on MTV, including from CBS Recods president at that time, who threatend to stop releasing videos from other artists if MTV won’t play Michael Jackson.
Of course MTV did not want to be looked at as racist medium and decided to play music video Beat it and Thriller. This was a major success for Michael alone, confirmation that all his hard work was finally paying of and also for other black artists which after Michael could be presented on MTV.
Thriller Music Video was a masterpiece by itself. Its original version was over 14 minutes long. At that time no music video had come even close to that. But it was not only the lenght of the video that made it so special. It was the production of Thriller video, the show, the costumes, the story that made it so popular. Michael started a movement with it, that is going today and for generations to come.
Idol and inspiration to new generations of singers
Michael had and still has a lot of fans in all generations of world known singers no matter their skin color. That is his legacy. To say out loud what others were only thinking. And it was not only his singing that is so inspirational. It is his attitude, dance moves, apperance and passion for music. When Michael was on stage he became the music. No other artist has come close to that.
When Thriller was rereleased in 2008 Michael recorded 5 new remixes with american artists: Fergie, will.i.am, Kanye West and Akon. Songs turned out to be a commercial success.
Songs on Thriller Album
Original Thriller Album consists of 9 tracks, four of them were written by Michael himself.
1. “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’” 6:02
2. “Baby Be Mine” (written by Rod Temperton) 4:20
3. “The Girl Is Mine” (performed with Paul McCartney) 3:42
4. “Thriller” (written by Temperton) 5:57
5. “Beat It” 4:17
6. “Billie Jean” 4:54
7. “Human Nature” (writtend by John Bettis, Steve Porcaro) 4:05
8. “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” (written by James Ingram, Quincy Jones) 3:58
9. “The Lady in My Life” (Temperton) 4:59
For complete song list check Thriller Album Songs
It is hard to list all of the awards in all the possible categories Thriller Album was awarded so lets name the big ones:
- 8 Grammy awards in 1984 (including album of the year, record of the year for Beat It and producer of the year)
- Guiness World Records in 1984 – Best Selling Album of All Time for “Thriller”
- American Music Awards in 1984 - Special Award of Merit
- MTV Music Video Awards in 1984 - Best Overall Video for “Thriller”
Album Thriller lives on
We can now understand the reasons for Michael Jackson’s success. Although he was extremely talented and worked very hard, it was not easy for him to achieve what he did. But Michael loved what he was doing with whis whole being and that won all his battles. His message and legacy for all of us is to do what we love with our whole heart and mind, give our best, share our love and never give up. That’s when the most magnificent things happen. Thank you Michael!