Classic Album Revisited: Michael Jackson – Thriller
By Brian Serrano
Michael Jackson’s album Thriller is considered to be one of the greatest albums of all time, but what exactly made it so successful and popular throughout society? Thriller was Jackson’s sixth solo album, released in November 1982. So what brought it this much success?
Thriller is said to foreshadow contradictory themes of Jackson’s personal life, as he began using darker themes in his songs. The album produced these singles known as, “The Girl Is Mine,” “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” “Human Nature,” “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing),” and “Thriller,” all reaching the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which set the record for the most top 10 singles from one album.
One major thing that differentiates this album from others during that time was that it used music videos as promotional tools, such as the videos for “Billie Jean”, “Beat It” and “Thriller,” which are credited for transforming music videos into a serious art form. The album’s success set the standard for the music industry with its songs which we now see as music videos common in today’s world. The album also broke racial barriers in popular music, which allowed Jackson’s appearances on MTV and to meet with then-President Ronald Reagan at the White House.
Overall, the album had so much success that people to this day call it one of the greatest albums of all time. It is said to have an untouchable amount of copies reaching a reported 66 million sales worldwide, making it the best-selling album of all time and being marked platinum 33 times (for U.S. sales of around 33 million copies). Thriller also reached a record-breaking 8 Grammys won, another record for AMA awards with 8 awards, being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and the “Thriller” music video being inducted into the National Film Preservation Board’s National Film Registry of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films.”
The Thriller album changed the music industry in using music videos as a way of advertising their music. All these music videos we see today are a reminder of Michael Jackson’s legacy, marking Thriller as a classic.