SMP Catalogue Chronicle: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”


40th Anniversary Edition:
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”

Released on November 30, 1982, Thriller is one of the best-selling studio albums in the Unites States, certified 28x platinum. More than 100 million copies have been sold worldwide. The album won a record-breaking 7 Grammy Awards and broke down racial barriers on radio and television networks. Thriller became the first album to generate seven Hot 100 top 10s — with “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” going to #1. Below are the songs from the album that SMP controls.

“The tracks appealed variously to nearly every radio format – pop, R&B, adult-contemporary, and even rock. More importantly, its remarkable video clips – for “Billie Jean,” “Beat It” and “Thriller” – helped break down racial and genre-based barriers at MTV, transforming the channel into a juggernaut of not just music video, but of fashion and marketing; and transforming the music industry as well.” – Billboard Magazine

This opening track was written by Michael Jackson and produced by Quincy Jones. The song evoked the disco sound of Jackson’s previous album “Off the Wall”. The song hit at #5 on the Hot 100. Controlled 100%

Written and co-produced by Jackson, this song tells the tale of two men fighting over a woman. This was the first single released from the album, and went to #2 on the Hot 100. Controlled 100%

This is the only Rock song on the album, featuring a guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen. The song is included on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”. Both the song and music video established Jackson as an international pop icon. Controlled 100%

Having one of the most recognizable basslines of all time, this song was included on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” and on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. The song was awarded 2 Grammys and an AMA. Controlled 100%

Steve Porcaro of Toto sent demos to Quincy Jones for the Thriller record. Running out of tape, he instructed Jones not to listen to the reverse side of the tape where he cut a demo of “Human Nature”. Fortunately, Quincy’s cassette deck had “auto-reverse” capability. After listening to the demo, he asked John Bettis to re-write the lyrics and insisted the song be included on the album. Controlled 100%