Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” Album

Released on November 30, 1982, Michael Jackson’s sixth studio album Thriller, saw him reunite with producer Quincy Jones to create an album with each song being a killer. The singer-songwriter took a new musical turn as he incorporated a bit of funk, rock, post-disco and pop.

It was recorded at the Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles from April through to November 1982. The budget for producing the album was $750,000.

Paul McCartney became the first artist to be featured on Michael Jackson’s albums, as he made a guest appearance on The Girl Is Mine.

Jackson personally wrote four songs on the album. And they are:

Instead of writing on paper, Michael dictated the words into a sound recorder and sang from memory.

The title track Thriller, was not written by Michael. It’s writer was the late English songwriter named Rod Temperton. He initially wanted to title it Midnight Man or Starlight.

Success of the “Thriller” Album

Following its release by Epic Records and CBS Records, the album reached number one on the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes charts. It also spent a record-breaking 37 weeks on top of the Billboard 200 charts from February 1983 to April 1984.

By 1983, the album had sold over 32 million copies globally, making it the best-selling album of the year and of all time. Furthermore, it became the first to become a best-selling album for two consecutive years (1983 and 1984) in the United States.

As of 2020, Thriller has sold at least 66 million copies globally and remains the best-selling album of all time. In the United States, it has been certified platinum more than 30 times by the RIAA. It has also been inducted into the iconic Grammy Hall of Fame as well as the following:

  • National Film Registry
  • The Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry

During the 1984 Grammy Awards, Thriller broke the records by winning eight Grammys, while landing Jackson another eight American Music Awards in 1984.

Other Interesting Facts

Both Michael and Quincy were not satisfied after the completion of the songs on the album. They therefore spent nine weeks remixing each song.

The musician’s sisters LaToya and Janet Jackson provided backing vocals for Pretty Young Thing.

For voicing Thriller’s intro, famous movie actor Vincent Price was paid only $1000.

In October 2001, the album was re-released as Thriller: Special Edition, with the original songs re-mastered. Songs including Carousel, the original Billie Jean demo and Someone in the Dark were added to it.

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