“Thriller” by Michael Jackson is Released

"Thriller" album cover (Image via Epic Records)
“Thriller” album cover (Image via Epic Records)

On this date in 1982, Epic Records released Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

Here are some things you may not have known about the best-selling album of all time.

Jackson was unhappy with the reception his previous album, “Off the Wall” received in 1979. He believed it should have won the Grammy for Record of the Year and set about making an album that would leave no doubt about his abilities as a performer.

Originally 30 songs were considered for the album, nine of which were chosen. Seven of the nine songs were released as singles; only “Baby Be Mine” and “The Lady in My Life” were not singles.

Recording started on April 14, 1982, with “The Girl is Mine,” a duet with Paul McCartney. That song, along with three others were written by Jackson. He also wrote “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” Beat It,” and “Billie Jean.”

“The Girl is Mine” was the first single released from the album, but didn’t perform well. It was followed by “Billie Jean,” which propelled the album to the top of the chart. “Beat It” followed about a month later, with “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” “Human Nature,” P.Y.T” and the title track released over the next year.

The song “Thriller” was written by Rod Temperton, who had written several hits for Jackson, including “Rock With You,” and “Off the Wall.” Early titles  for the song included “Starlight,” “Starlight Sun,” and “Midnight Man.” The end of the song features a spoken-word portion by actor Vincent Price. Price’s contribution was recorded in just two takes.

In December 1983, a 14-minute music video directed by John Landis was released, which features a now-classic scene of Jackson leading a mob of dancing zombies.

The album went on to win eight Grammy awards, and has sold an estimated 68 million copies worldwide. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as the 20th greatest album of all time and it has been included in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry as a culturally significant recording.

Our question, on the cover of “Thriller,” what kind of animal is Jackson posing with?

Today is Independence Day in Barbados, National Day in Benin and St. Andrew’s Day in Scotland. It’s National Mousse Day, but we’re not sure if it’s supposed to honor the dessert or the hair product, so let’s celebrate both. It’s the birthday of Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and Dick Clark.


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