Back in 1984, Michael Jackson’s Thriller album was enjoying a long run at number one on the Billboard charts. It was top at the start of the year, and remained in the number one position until April 21 when it was displaced by the Footloose soundtrack.
This album was huge.
It won a massive 8 Grammys at the 1984 Grammy awards. 8 American Music Awards and 3 MTV Music Video Awards. In 2009 it was certified 29x platinum in the US – this means it had sold over 29 million copies. Even today, it’s estimate that around 130,000 copies of Thriller are sold each year.
Michael engaged Quincy Jones to produce the album – they’d also worked together on Michael’s Off The Wall Album. They used some of the best musicians around – they guys from Toto, Paul Jackson Jr (one of my favourite guitarists) and Eddie Van Halen who played the solo on Beat It.
There are so many memories from this album. I remember the TV premiere of the Thriller video clip. I remember Michael’s dance moves on Billy Jean. I can’t forget Beat It, particularly the video clip (and Eddie’s guitar solo).
We used to spend a bit of time at our cousin’s house in the 80’s and they had built on an extra room our the back that had a pool table. My brother and I would play 8 ball with our two cousins in that room while mum and dad would sit and talk with my aunt and uncle. My cousins were a few years older and could afford to buy more records. The Thriller album was one of those that we listened to over and over in that room, playing 8 ball. Every song on that album was a good song – there wasn’t a filler track on it. There were seven singles released and all seven made it to Billboard’s Top 10.
I remember tracks from this album being played at school socials and Blue Light Discos. I had friends who wore the one white glove, just like Michael.
I don’t think we’ll ever see another album enjoy the success that this one had. Taylor Swift’s 1989 album has sold over 1 million copies since it was released last year and was the biggest selling album of 2014. It’s estimated that around the world, Thriller has sold over 65 million copies! At it’s peak, it was selling 1 million copies worldwide each week.
This was the biggest album of the 80’s and will probably be the biggest album of my lifetime.
Michael was a strange character and it’s difficult to separate the fact from fiction when it comes to his life (llamas anyone?) but no-one can deny – this is a great album.