This is “Thriller” Michael Jackson’s Groundbreaking Album


Revisiting Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking album

This is “Thriller”

Back in 1982 Michael Jackson wasn’t quite yet the biggest Pop star in the world, but with “Thriller” that would change in just a few months. His 6th solo album, and follow up of the successful 1979 Disco LP “Off The Wall”, it’s still considered his masterpiece, much more diverse musically then his previous albums, in fact, it’s an album that has very little fillers, just consider having cuts such as “Human Nature” or “Beat It” in the same record.

The opening track “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin” it’s a killer and opens the way to a succession of smash pop hits, “Billy Jean”, “Human Nature”, “Beat It”, “Thriller”, and “The Girl Is Mine” (featuring Paul McCartney). The album it’s a fusion of Pop, Rock, Funk and Dance that adjusted perfectly to the time frame in which was released, with all the new musical styles emerging. The epic title track “Thriller” remains one of the most memorable cuts of the album, also due to the famous video produced to catch the young white MTV audience back then (black artists weren’t necessarily picked by MTV in the early 80’s). “Thriller” caused a cultural shifting not just in music. but in popular culture, and became the most 1980’s influential album, Michael Jackson was finally able to set himself as a solo adult artist separating from the baby image that the world still had from his Jackson 5 days.
Produced by legendary Quincy Jones that already had produced “Off The Wall”, it features guests such as the already mentioned former Beatle “Paul McCartney with whom Jackson went also to record the hit single “Say Say Say” and Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen that threw a memorable guitar solo in “Beat It”. An album that never gets old and sounds as good as it did back then, first class cuts and production, wrapped in an iconic cover art packaging, Jackson in his white suit laying down in the front and laying down with a tiger inside the gatefold. Together with the album came the companion iconic videos for “Thriller”, “Beat It”, and “Billie Jean”, sound and vision. Strip down these tracks to the basic and you’ll find first class songwriting, that’s one of the many reasons for this album to be considered one of the greatest records ever made, and not just in the 1980’s.

Record-breaking award winner

The album won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards in 1984, including Album of the Year. Jackson won seven for the album, while the eighth Grammy went to Bruce Swedien. That same year, Jackson won eight American Music Awards, the Special Award of Merit and three MTV Video Music Awards.”Thriller” was recognized as the world’s best-selling album on February 7, 1984, when it was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records

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Although Jackson went on to make another big successful album in 1987 “Bad”, “Thriller” is still the Jackson we all love to remember the most, young and talented at the height of his physical shape and career.

Side 1
“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” (Michael Jackson)
“Baby Be Mine” (Rod Temperton)
“The Girl Is Mine” (Michael Jackson)
“Thriller” (Rod Temperton)

Side 2
“Beat It” (Michael Jackson)
“Billie Jean” (Michael Jackson)
“Human Nature” (Steve Porcaro, John Bettis)
“P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” (James Ingram,Jones)
“The Lady in My Life” (Rod Temperton)

Personnel (partial):
Michael Jackson: co-producer (tracks 1, 3, 5-6), lead vocals (all tracks), drum case beater (track 5), bathroom stomp board (1), background vocals (1, 4–6), handclaps (8), vocal arrangements (1, 3, 5–6), rhythm arrangements (1, 5–6), horn arrangements (1), synthesizer arrangements (6)
Janet Jackson: background vocals (track 8)
La Toya Jackson: background vocals (track 8)
Quincy Jones: producer (all tracks), rhythm arrangements (tracks 1, 3, 5), vocal arrangements (3), musical arrangements (8)
Bruce Swedien: recording engineer (All tracks), audio mixer (All tracks), effects (4)
Paul McCartney: lead vocals (track 3)
Steve Porcaro: synthesizers (tracks 5, 7, 9), synthesizer programming (2–3, 5, 7), musical arrangements (7)
Vincent Price: voice-over (track 4)
Eddie Van Halen: guitar solo (track 5)
Ndugu Chancler: drums (tracks 2, 6, 8)
Jeff Porcaro: drums (tracks 3, 5, 7, 9)
Louis Johnson: bass guitar (tracks 1, 3, 6, 8–9), handclaps (8)
Steve Lukather: guitar (tracks 3, 5, 7), bass guitar (5), musical arrangements (7)

Recorded during: April 14 – November 8, 1982 Westlake Recording Studios, Los Angeles, California
Produced by: Quincy Jones
Released: November 30th,1982
Label: Epic/CBS

“The Girl Is Mine” Released: October 18, 1982
“Billie Jean” Released: January 2, 1983
“Beat It” Released: February 14, 1983
“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” Released: May 8, 1983
“Human Nature” Released: July 3, 1983
“P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” Released: September 19, 1983
“Thriller” Released: January 23, 1984

Suggested tracks:
“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”, “The Girl Is Mine” , “Thriller” , “Beat It” , “Billie Jean”, “Human Nature”

Listen to “Thriller” on Spotify:


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