|Single by Michael Jackson|
|from the album Thriller|
|B-side||"Things I Do for You"|
|Released||November 5, 1983 (U.K.) |
January 23, 1984 (U.S.) [ failed verification – see discussion ]
|Studio||Westlake Recording Studios (Los Angeles, California)|
|Michael Jackson singles chronology|
"Thriller" is a song by the American singer Michael Jackson. It was released by Epic Records in November 5, 1983 in the UK, and on January 23, 1984, in the US, as the seventh and final single from Jackson's sixth studio album, Thriller (1982)."Thriller" is a funk song produced by Quincy Jones and written by Rod Temperton, who wanted to write a theatrical song to suit Jackson's love of film. The music and lyrics evoke horror films, with sound effects such as thunder, footsteps, and wind. It ends with a spoken-word sequence performed by the horror actor Vincent Price.
"Thriller" received positive reviews and became the album's seventh top-ten single on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching number four. It reached number one in Belgium, France and Spain, and the top ten in many other countries. "Thriller" is certified seven-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. In the week of Jackson's death in 2009, it was Jackson's bestselling track in the US, with sales of 167,000 copies on the Billboard Hot Digital Tracks chart. It charted on the Billboard Hot Digital Singles Chart at number two, and remained in the charts' top ten for three consecutive weeks. It appears on several of Jackson's greatest-hits albums and has been covered by numerous artists.
The "Thriller" music video was directed by John Landis and premiered on MTV on December 2, 1983. In the video, Jackson becomes a zombie and performs a dance routine with a horde of the undead. Many elements of the video have had a lasting impact on popular culture, such as the zombie dance and Jackson's red jacket, and it was the first music video inducted into the National Film Registry. It has been named the greatest music video of all time by various publications and readers' polls.
"Thriller" was written by the English songwriter Rod Temperton, who had previously written "Rock With You" and "Off the Wall" for Jackson's 1979 album Off the Wall.Temperton wanted to write something theatrical to suit Jackson's love of film. He improvised with bass and drum patterns until he developed the bassline that runs through the song, then wrote a chord progression that built to a climax. He recalled: "I wanted it to build and build – a bit like stretching an elastic band throughout the tune to heighten suspense."
Temperton's first version was titled "Starlight", with the chorus lyric: "Give me some starlight / Starlight sun".The production team, led by Quincy Jones, felt the song should be the title track, but that "Starlight" was not a strong album title. Instead, they wanted something "mysterious to match Michael's evolving persona". Temperton considered several possible titles, including "Midnight Man", which Jones felt was "going in the right direction". Finally, he conceived "Thriller", but worried that it was "a crap word to sing ... It sounded terrible! However, we got Michael to spit it into the microphone a few times and it worked."
With the title settled, Temperton wrote lyrics within "a couple of hours".He envisioned a spoken-word sequence for the end of the song, but did not know what form it should take. It was decided to have a famous voice from the horror genre perform it, and Jones' then-wife, Peggy Lipton, suggested her friend Vincent Price. Temperton composed the words for Price's part in a taxi on the way to the studio on the day of recording.
"Thriller" is a disco-funk song. [ citation needed ] The introduction features sound effects such as a creaking door, thunder, feet walking on wooden planks, winds and howling dogs.Set in the key of C# minor, it has a moderate tempo of 120 beats per minute. The instrumentation consists of a Minimoog synthesizer, a Linn LM-1 drum machine, a Roland Jupiter-8 synthesizer, an electric guitar, a Rhodes piano, a pipe organ, and a horn section consisting of trumpet, trombone, flugelhorn, saxophone, and flute.
Along with the rest of the album, "Thriller" was recorded over eight weeks in 1982.It was recorded at Westlake Recording Studios on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. The engineer Bruce Swedien had Jackson record his vocals in different approaches, doubling takes and recording at different distances from the microphone. Some background vocals were recorded in the Westlake shower stall. The bassline was recorded with two modified Minimoog synthesizers playing in unison.
To record the wolf howls, Swedien set up tape recorders up around his Great Dane in a barn overnight, but the dog never howled. Instead, Jackson recorded the howls himself.For the creaking doors, Swedien rented doors designed for sound effects from the Universal Studios Lot and recorded the hinges. Price recorded his part in two takes; Jones, acknowledging that doing a voice-over for a song is difficult, praised Price and described his takes as "fabulous".
"Thriller" was the final single released from the album. It was not initially planned for release, as Jackson's record label, Epic, saw it as a novelty song;the Epic executive Walter Yetnikoff asked, "Who wants a single about monsters?" By mid-1983, sales of Thriller began to decline. Jackson, who was "obsessive" about his sales figures, urged Yetnikoff and executive Larry Stessel to help conceive a plan to return the album to the top of the charts. Jackson's manager Frank DiLeo suggested releasing "Thriller", backed by a new music video.
The music video for "Thriller" references numerous horror films,and stars Jackson performing a dance routine with a horde of the undead. It was directed by the horror director John Landis and written by Landis and Jackson. Jackson contacted Landis after seeing his film An American Werewolf in London. The pair conceived a 13-minute short film with a budget much larger than previous music videos. Jackson's record company refused to finance it, believing Thriller had peaked, so a making-of documentary, Making Michael Jackson's Thriller, was produced to receive financing from television networks.
Michael Jackson's Thriller premiered on MTV on December 2, 1983.It was launched to great anticipation and played regularly on MTV. It doubled sales of Thriller, and sold over a million copies on VHS, becoming the bestselling videotape at the time. It is credited for transforming music videos into a serious art form, breaking down racial barriers in popular entertainment, and popularizing the making-of documentary format.
Many elements have had a lasting impact on popular culture, such as the zombie dance and Jackson's red jacket, designed by Landis's wife Deborah Nadoolman.Fans worldwide re-enact its zombie dance and it remains popular on YouTube. The Library of Congress described it as "the most famous music video of all time". In 2009, it became the first music video inducted into the National Film Registry as "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant.
"Thriller" entered the Billboard Hot 100 charts at number 20.It reached number seven the following week, number five the next, and peaked the next week at number four, where it stayed for two weeks. It finished as the #78 single on Billboard's Hot 100 for the 1984.
"Thriller" charted at number 19 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart.On March 10, 1984, it reached its peak at number 3. "Thriller" debuted on the UK Singles Chart on November 19, 1983, at number 24, and the following week peaked at number ten; it appeared on the chart for 52 weeks. Beginning on February 5, 1984, "Thriller" peaked on the French Singles Chart at number one and topped the chart for four consecutive weeks. "Thriller" also topped the Belgian VRT Top 30 Chart for two weeks in January 1984.
Following Jackson's death in 2009, his music surged in popularity.In the week of his death, "Thriller" was Jackson's best-selling track in the US, with sales of 167,000 copies on the Billboard Hot Digital Singles Chart. On July 11, 2009, "Thriller" charted on the Billboard Hot Digital Singles Chart at number two (its peak), and the song remained in the charts' top ten for three consecutive weeks. In the United Kingdom, the song charted at number 23 the week of Jackson's death. The following week, the song reached its peak at number 12 on the UK Single Chart. On July 12, 2009, "Thriller" peaked at number two on the Italian Singles Chart and was later certified gold by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry. "Thriller" reached at number three on the Australian ARIA Chart and Swiss Singles Chart and topped the Spanish Singles Charts for one week. The song also placed within the top ten on the German Singles Chart, Norwegian Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart, at number nine, number seven and number eight respectively. "Thriller" also landed at number 25 on the Danish Singles Chart. In the third week of July "Thriller" peaked at number 11 in Finland.
The song has returned to the Billboard Hot 100 chart multiple times since its initial release due to its popularity around the time of Halloween. "Thriller" re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2013 at number 42,number 31 in November 2018, and number 19 in November 2021, marking its highest placement since its original chart run in 1984. This accomplishment means Jackson now has at least one Top 20 hit across 7 consecutive decades from 1969 to 2021 in the Billboard Hot 100.
The song was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on December 4, 1989, for sales of over one million physical units in the U.S.As of August 2016, the song had sold 4,024,398 copies in the US. By August 2018, it had sold a further 6 million download copies in the US.
Ashley Lasimone, of AOL's Spinner.com, noted that it "became a signature for Jackson" and described "the groove of its bassline, paired with Michael's killer vocals and sleek moves" as having "produced a frighteningly great single."Jon Pareles of The New York Times noted that "'Billie Jean', 'Beat It', 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' ' and "the movie in the song 'Thriller'", were the songs, unlike the "fluff" "P.Y.T.", that were "the hits that made Thriller a world-beater; along with Mr. Jackson's stage and video presence, listeners must have identified with his willingness to admit terror." Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times described "Thriller" as "adequately groovy" with a "funked-out beat" and lyrics "seemingly lifted from some little kid's 'scary storybook'".
|Australia (ARIA)||6× Platinum||420,000|
|Denmark (IFPI Danmark)||Gold||45,000|
|Japan (RIAJ) |
|Mexico (AMPROFON)||4× Platinum||240,000|
|Spain (PROMUSICAE)||2× Platinum||100,000*|
|United Kingdom (BPI) |
|United Kingdom (BPI) |
|United States (RIAA) |
|United States (RIAA) |
|United States (RIAA) |
* Sales figures based on certification alone.
In October 2010, it was found that GK Films plans to produce a horror film inspired by the song, directed by Kenny Ortega and produced with Ivan Reitman.
"Billie Jean" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson, released by Epic Records on January 2, 1983, as the second single from Jackson's sixth studio album, Thriller (1982). It was written and composed by Jackson and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. "Billie Jean" blends post-disco, rhythm and blues, funk and dance-pop. The lyrics describe a woman, Billie Jean, who claims that the narrator is the father of her newborn son, which he denies. Jackson said the lyrics were based on groupies' claims about his older brothers when he toured with them as the Jackson 5.
Thriller is the sixth studio album by American singer and songwriter Michael Jackson, released on November 30, 1982, by Epic Records. It was produced by Quincy Jones, who had previously worked with Jackson on his 1979 album Off the Wall. Jackson wanted to create an album where "every song was a killer". With the ongoing backlash against disco music at the time, he moved in a new musical direction, resulting in a mix of pop, post-disco, rock, funk, and R&B sounds. Thriller foreshadows the contradictory themes of Jackson's personal life, as he began using a motif of paranoia and darker themes. The album features a single guest appearance, with Paul McCartney becoming the first artist to be credited as a featured artist on one of Jackson's albums. Recording took place from April to November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California, with a production budget of $750,000.
Bad is the seventh studio album by the American singer and songwriter Michael Jackson. It was released on August 31, 1987, by Epic Records, nearly five years after Jackson's previous album, Thriller (1982). Written and recorded between January 1985 and July 1987, Bad was the third and final collaboration between Jackson and producer Quincy Jones, with Jackson co-producing and composing all but two tracks. Jackson notably adopted an edgy look and sound with Bad, departing from his signature groove-based style and high-pitched vocals. The album incorporates pop, rock, funk, R&B, dance, soul, and hard rock styles. Jackson also experimented with newer recording technology, including digital synthesizers and drum machines, resulting in a sleeker and more aggressive sound. Lyrical themes on the album include media bias, paranoia, racial profiling, romance, self-improvement, and world peace. The album features appearances from Siedah Garrett and Stevie Wonder.
Number Ones is a greatest hits album by American singer Michael Jackson. It was released on November 18, 2003, by Epic Records. Number Ones was Jackson's first proper compilation album with Epic Records, after the release of the first disc of HIStory in 1995. The album included Jackson's singles that reportedly reached number 1 in charts around the world, hence the album's name. Number Ones also features the last original single released during Jackson's lifetime, "One More Chance", released two days after the release of the album.
"Last Christmas" is a song by British pop duo Wham!, originally released in December 1984 on CBS Records internationally and as a double A-side on Epic Records with "Everything She Wants" in the UK. Described as a "high watermark of mid-80s British synthpop songcraft", it was written and produced by George Michael, and has been covered by many artists since its original release.
"Smooth Criminal" is a song by the American singer Michael Jackson, released on November 14, 1988, as the seventh single from his seventh album, Bad (1987). It was written by Jackson and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. The lyrics address a woman who has been attacked in her apartment by a "smooth criminal". The refrain "Annie, are you OK?" was inspired by Resusci Anne, a dummy used in CPR training.
"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson recorded for his sixth studio album Thriller (1982). It is the opening track of the album and was released as its fourth single on May 8, 1983, by Epic Records. It was written by Jackson and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. The lyrics pertain to strangers spreading rumors to start an argument for no good reason. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" evokes the disco sound of Jackson's previous studio album, Off the Wall, released in 1979. The song is characterized by a complex rhythm arrangement and a distinctive horn arrangement.
"Black or White" is a single by the American singer Michael Jackson. It was released by Epic Records on November 11, 1991, as the first single from Jackson's eighth studio album, Dangerous (1991). Jackson wrote, composed, and produced it with Bill Bottrell. The song is a fusion of pop rock, dance and hip hop. Epic Records described it as "a rock 'n' roll dance song about racial harmony".
"Rock with You" is a song recorded by American singer Michael Jackson. It was written by Rod Temperton and produced by Quincy Jones. It was first offered to Karen Carpenter, while she was working on her first solo album, but she turned it down. It was released on November 3, 1979, by Epic Records as the second single from Jackson's fifth solo studio album Off the Wall (1979). It was also the third number-one hit of the 1980s, a decade in which the pop singles chart would quickly be dominated by Jackson.
"Off the Wall" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson, from his fifth album of the same name (1979). It was written by English songwriter Rod Temperton and produced by Quincy Jones, and released by Epic Records as the album's third single on November 17, 1979 in the UK and on February 2, 1980 in the U.S. The song was first offered to Karen Carpenter, while she was working on her first solo album, but she turned it down. Lyrically, the song is about getting over troubles.
American singer Michael Jackson released 10 studio albums, 3 soundtrack albums, 1 live album, 39 compilation albums, 10 video albums and 8 remix albums. Since his death, 2 albums of unreleased tracks have been posthumously released. Jackson made his debut in 1964 at the age of five with The Jackson 5, who were prominent performers during the 1970s. Jackson is globally recognized as one of the biggest selling music artists in history with over 400 million records sold. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Jackson has sold 89 million certified albums in the United States, making him the sixth top-selling album artist in the country.
"The Way You Make Me Feel" is a song by American recording artist Michael Jackson. It was released by Epic Records on November 9, 1987 as the third single from his seventh studio album Bad. It was written and composed by Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones and Jackson.
"You Rock My World" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson from his tenth and final studio album, Invincible (2001). It was released as the lead single from the album on August 22, 2001, by Epic Records.
American singer Michael Jackson released 67 singles as lead artist, and 10 as a featured artist. One of the best-selling artists of all time, his albums and singles sales as of 2013 stood at 400 million. In the United States, Jackson amassed 13 Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles and was the first artist to have a top-ten single in the Billboard Hot 100 in five different decades. In 2012, Jackson was ranked fifth best selling singles artist in the United Kingdom with 15.3 million singles sold.
"Hey Lover" is the first single released from American rapper LL Cool J's sixth album, Mr. Smith. The song features vocals from American R&B group Boyz II Men. It was released on October 31, 1995, for Def Jam Recordings and was produced by The Trackmasters and LL Cool J. The song samples Michael Jackson's "The Lady in My Life" from his 1982 hit album Thriller; thus Rod Temperton, the writer of that song, was given credit as a writer of this song. On the B-side is the "I Shot Ya" remix.
"Beat It" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson from his sixth studio album, Thriller (1982). It was written by Jackson and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. Jones encouraged Jackson to include a rock song on the album. Jackson later said: "I wanted to write a song, the type of song that I would buy if I were to buy a rock song... and I wanted the children to really enjoy it—the school children as well as the college students." It includes a guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen.
Off the Wall is the fifth solo studio album by American singer Michael Jackson, released on August 10, 1979, by Epic Records. It was Jackson's first album released through Epic Records, the label he recorded under until his death in 2009, and the first produced by Quincy Jones, whom he met while working on the 1978 film The Wiz. Several critics observed that Off the Wall was crafted from disco, pop, funk, R&B, soft rock and Broadway ballads. Its lyrical themes include escapism, liberation, loneliness, hedonism and romance. The album features songwriting contributions from Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Rod Temperton, Tom Bahler, and David Foster, alongside three tracks penned by Jackson himself.
"Say Say Say" is a song written and performed by English musician Paul McCartney and American musician Michael Jackson, released in October 1983 as the lead single to McCartney's 1983 album Pipes of Peace. Produced by George Martin, the song was recorded during production of McCartney's 1982 Tug of War album, about a year before the release of "The Girl Is Mine", the pair's first duet from Jackson's album Thriller (1982).