|Single by Michael Jackson|
|from the album Thriller|
|B-side||"Things I Do for You"|
|Released||January 23, 1984 (U.S. release)|
|Studio||Westlake Recording Studios (Los Angeles, California)|
|Michael Jackson singles chronology|
"Thriller" is a single by American singer Michael Jackson. It was released as a single by Epic Records on January 23, 1984 as the seventh and final single from Jackson's sixth studio album of the same name."Thriller" is a mix of disco and funk. The song was produced by Quincy Jones and was 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 horror actor Vincent Price.
"Thriller" received positive reviews and became the album's seventh top-ten single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number four. It reached the top of the charts in Belgium, France and Spain as well as the top 10 in many other countries. "Thriller" is certified 7x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). 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.
"Thriller" won a Grammy Award.It is often cited as a pop culture phenomenon and a Halloween anthem. 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 video of all time by various publications and readers' polls.
"Thriller" was written by English songwriter Rod Temperton, who had previously written 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 backing track, especially the bassline, has certain similarities to the 1981 number-one R&B hit "Give It to Me Baby" by Rick James. At the beginning of the song, sound effects such as a creaking door, thunder, feet walking on wooden planks, winds and howling dogs are used.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 Rhodes piano, a Roland Jupiter-8 synthesizer, an electric guitar, a pipe organ, and a horn section consisting of trumpet, trombone, flugelhorn, saxophone, and flute.
"Thriller", along with the rest of the album, was recorded over eight weeks in 1982.It was recorded at Westlake Recording Studios on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.
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 specially 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, according to Epic executive Walter Yetnikoff, "Who wants a single about monsters?"By mid-1983, sales of Thriller began to decline. Jackson, who was "obsessive" about his sales figures, urged record executives Walter Yetnikoff and 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.
"Thriller" was the seventh and final Billboard Hot 100 top-ten single from the Thriller album. In Billboard issue date February 11, 1984, the single entered the charts at number 20 on the Hot 100.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 year 1984.
For the issue date February 25, 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 charted at number ten, where it peaked; the song 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 charts several times in recent years due to increased popularity around the time of Halloween. "Thriller" re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2013 at number 42and in November 2018 at number 31.
The song was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on December 4, 1989, for sales of over one million physical units in the U.S.It has sold a further 6 million copies in digital downloads as of August 2018 in the U.S. As of August 2018, the song has sold 4,024,398 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'".
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 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' 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.
|Australia (ARIA)||3× Platinum||210,000^|
|Denmark (IFPI Denmark)||Gold||45,000|
|Japan (RIAJ) |
|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.As of 2020, there has been no further news.
"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 Michael Jackson, released on November 30, 1982 by Epic Records. Reunited with Off the Wall producer Quincy Jones, Jackson was inspired to create an album where "every song was a killer". With the ongoing backlash against disco, Jackson moved in a new musical direction, incorporating pop, post-disco, rock and funk. 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 featured on one of Jackson's albums. Recording took place from April to November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, with a production budget of $750,000.
Bad is the seventh studio album by American singer Michael Jackson. It was released on August 31, 1987, by Epic Records, nearly five years after Jackson's previous album, Thriller. It was written and recorded in nearly a year, and was the third and final collaboration between Jackson and producer Quincy Jones. Jackson co-produced it and composed all but two tracks. Vocally, Jackson moved away from his trademark groove sound and high-pitched vocals. Instead, Bad's edgier sound incorporates pop, rock, funk, R&B, dance, soul and hard rock. Jackson experimented with modern technology, including digital synthesizers and drum machines, resulting in a sleeker and more aggressive sound on the album. Lyrical themes 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.
"Smooth Criminal" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson from his seventh studio album Bad (1987). It was written by Jackson, and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. It was released as the album's seventh single on November 14, 1988. It features lyrics about 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.
"Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" is a single written and recorded by American singer Michael Jackson. Released under Epic Records on July 10, 1979, the song is the first track on Jackson's fifth studio album Off the Wall (1979). It was the first solo recording over which Jackson had creative control.
"Black or White" is a single by American singer-songwriter Michael Jackson. The song was released by Epic Records on November 11, 1991, as the first single from his eighth studio album, Dangerous. He co-wrote, composed, and produced it with Bill Bottrell. The song is a fusion of pop rock, dance and hip hop. Epic Records described the song 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 whose pop singles chart would soon 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 as the album's third single on February 2, 1980, by Epic Records. 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. It was well received by music critics, and became Jackson's third top 10 single from Off the Wall, which eventually spawned four top 10 singles; Jackson was the first person to accomplish this. It was performed by Jackson in five of his concert tours.
"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.
"Dirty Diana" is a song by American artist Michael Jackson. It is the ninth track on Jackson's seventh studio album, Bad. The song was released by Epic Records on April 18, 1988 as the fifth single from the album. It presents a harder rock sound similar to "Beat It" from Thriller (1982) and a guitar solo played by Steve Stevens. "Dirty Diana" was written and co-produced by Jackson, and produced by Quincy Jones. The song's lyrics pertain to groupies. "Dirty Diana" has a moderate tempo and is played in the key of G minor.
American singer Michael Jackson has released 63 of his songs as singles, including eight as a featured artist. He has 13 solo US #1s including 1 with Paul McCartney, and one with USA for Africa "We Are the World". His first solo entry on the US Billboard Hot 100 was "Got to Be There" (1971), which peaked at number four. Jackson's first number-one hit was "Ben" (1972). Jackson continued to release singles through the 1970s. The album Off the Wall spawned five singles, including the chart-topping "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" (1979) and "Rock with You" (1979). Both are certified platinum by the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) sales in excess of 4 million and 2 million copies respectively. Jackson's first single to be certified by the RIAA was "The Girl Is Mine" (1982), a collaboration with Paul McCartney. The single peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. "Billie Jean", released as the second single from his sixth studio album Thriller, topped the charts in 13 countries. The single sold more than six million copies in the United States and over 1,440,000 in the United Kingdom. "Beat It", released a month later, peaked at number one in nine countries and sold more than five million copies in the US. "Thriller" was released in November 1982 and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100. The single sold seven million copies in the US alone, making it Jackson's best-selling single.
"Hey Lover" is the Grammy Award winning first single released from LL Cool J's sixth album, Mr. Smith, featuring 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, though Jackson had never previously shown an interest in the genre. 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... That is how I approached it 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.
"Hold My Hand" is a duet performed by American singer-songwriter Michael Jackson and Senegalese-American singer-songwriter Akon, from Jackson's first posthumous album Michael. The song was originally recorded by Akon and Jackson in 2007. The song was an international top 10 hit in nations such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
"Say Say Say" is a song written and performed by English musician Paul McCartney and American singer 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).
"Dip" is a song recorded by American rapper Tyga for his seventh studio album Legendary (2019). It was released on September 19, 2018, by Last Kings Records and Empire Distribution as the third single from the album. An alternate version of the song featuring American rapper Nicki Minaj was released on October 29, 2018, along with an accompanying music video.
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