|Single by Michael Jackson|
|from the album Thriller|
|B-side||"Things I Do for You"|
|Released||January 23, 1984|
|Studio||Westlake (Los Angeles, California)|
|Genre||Disco · funk|
|Michael Jackson singles chronology|
|"Thriller" on YouTube|
"Thriller" is a song by the American singer Michael Jackson. It was released by Epic Records on January 23, 1984, as the seventh and final single from his sixth studio album, Thriller .It is a funk song featuring a repeating synthesizer bassline and lyrics evoking horror films, with sound effects such as thunder, creaking doors and wolf howls. It ends with a spoken-word sequence performed by the horror actor Vincent Price. It was produced by Quincy Jones and written by Rod Temperton, who wanted to write a theatrical song to suit Jackson's love of film.
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" 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. 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" is certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America. It appears on several of Jackson's greatest-hits albums and has been covered by numerous artists. In 1984 at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards, the song "Thriller" won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male.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" is a disco-funk song.Set in the key of C# minor, it has a moderate tempo of 120 beats per minute. The instrumentation consists of a LinnDrum drum machine, ARP 2600 synthesizer bassline, a Roland Jupiter-8 synthesizer, an electric guitar, a Rhodes piano, an organ, and a horn section consisting of trumpet, trombone, flugelhorn, saxophone, and flute. The introduction features sound effects such as a creaking door, thunder, feet walking on wooden planks, winds and howling wolves.
"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 Jackson's "evolving persona". Temperton considered several 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 decided, Temperton wrote lyrics within "a couple of hours".He envisioned a spoken-word sequence for the ending, 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.
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 performed on an ARP 2600 synthesizer, and the verse pads were performed on a Roland Jupiter-8 layered with a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 and a Yamaha CS-80.The percussion was created with a LinnDrum drum machine modified with sound chips from two other drum machines: a snare hi-hat and congas from an LM-1 and a clap from a TR-808. "Thriller" also features Rhodes piano performed by Greg Phillinganes and guitar performed by David Williams.
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".
The album Thriller was released in November 1982 on Epic Records and spent months at the top of the Billboard 200."Thriller" was not initially planned for release as a single, as Epic saw it as a novelty song. the Epic executive Walter Yetnikoff asked: "Who wants a single about monsters?" By mid-1983, sales of the album had begun to decline. Jackson, who was "obsessive" about his sales figures, urged Yetnikoff and another Epic 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. It was the final single from the album, released in January 1984.
Alternative versions of "Thriller", including the "Starlight" demo, were released on the anniversary Thriller reissue Thriller 40 (2022).
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 the documentary sold over a million copies, 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.
"Thriller" has returned to the Billboard Hot 100 chart multiple times due to its popularity around Halloween. It re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2013 at number 42,number 31 in November 2018, and number 19 in November 2021, its highest placement since 1984. This gave Jackson at least one top-20 hit across seven consecutive decades from 1969 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"Thriller" 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 2022, it had sold a further 10 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)||Platinum||90,000‡|
|Japan (RIAJ) |
|Mexico (AMPROFON)||4× Platinum+Gold||270,000‡|
|Spain (PROMUSICAE)||2× Platinum||100,000*|
|United Kingdom (BPI) |
Digital sales since 2004
|United Kingdom (BPI) |
|United States (RIAA)||Diamond||10,000,000‡|
|United States (RIAA) |
* Sales figures based on certification alone.
"Billie Jean" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson, released by Epic Records on January 2, 1983, as the second single from his sixth studio album, Thriller (1982). It was written and composed by Jackson and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. "Billie Jean" blends post-disco, R&B, 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 the American singer and songwriter Michael Jackson, released on November 29, 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. Paul McCartney appears on "The Girl Is Mine", the first credited appearance of a featured artist on a Michael Jackson album. Recording took place from April to November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California, with a budget of $750,000.
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: Past, Present and Future, Book I 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 four days after the release of the album.
"Smooth Criminal" is a song by the American singer Michael Jackson, released on November 14, 1988, 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".
Whitney is the second studio album by American singer Whitney Houston, released on June 2, 1987, by Arista Records as the follow-up to her debut album. The album features five top 10 hits on the US Billboard Hot 100, which also became international hits. The album's first four singles—"I Wanna Dance with Somebody ", "Didn't We Almost Have It All", "So Emotional" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go"—all peaked at number one on the US Hot 100, making her the first female act to achieve four number-one hits from one album.
"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.
"Bad" is a song by the American singer Michael Jackson. It was released by Epic Records on September 7, 1987, as the second single from his seventh studio album, Bad. The song was written and composed by Jackson, and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. It was influenced by a true story Jackson read about a young man who tried to escape poverty by attending private school but was killed when he returned home.
"Earth Song" is a song by the American singer Michael Jackson for his ninth studio album, HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995). It was written by Jackson and produced by Jackson, David Foster and Bill Bottrell. Epic Records released on November 7, 1995, as the album's third single.
"Black or White" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson, released by Epic Records on November 11, 1991, as the first single from his 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 by American singer Michael Jackson, 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 (1958–2009) released ten studio albums, three soundtrack albums, nineteen compilation albums, three video albums and 1 remix album. Since his death, two 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 one of the best-selling music artists in history with over 1 billion records sold worldwide. 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 that country.
"The Way You Make Me Feel" is a song by American singer 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 a lead artist, and 10 as a featured artist. One of the best-selling artists of all time, his album and single 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 the fifth best selling singles artist in the United Kingdom with 15.3 million singles sold.
"Beat It" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson from his sixth studio album, Thriller (1982). It was written and composed 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.
Thriller 25 is the 25th-anniversary edition reissue of Thriller (1982), the sixth studio album by the American singer Michael Jackson. The original album has sold 70 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling album of all time. Thriller 25 was released by Sony BMG's reissue division, Legacy Recordings. Along with the original material, the reissue contains remixes, new material, a DVD and collaborations with contemporary artists. Thriller 25 was one of the last recorded works released during Jackson's lifetime, which he was moreover deeply involved with, as Jackson co-produced all of the newly remixed tracks.
"Say Say Say" is a song by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson, released in October 1983 as the lead single from McCartney's 1983 album Pipes of Peace. Produced by George Martin, it 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).