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03 June 2007

Thriller (1982)

Thriller is an album by pop singer Michael Jackson, released by Epic Records on December 1, 1982. Widely considered one of the greatest albums ever made, Thriller established Michael Jackson as the most famous musician of the late 20th century and initiated a surge in the popularity of pop music that continues to this day. In 2007, the NARM and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ranked Thriller third on their "Definitive 200" list, a compilation of what they believed to be the greatest albums ever.

Track listing

Original release (1982)

1. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" (Jackson)

2. "Baby Be Mine" (Temperton)
3. "The Girl Is Mine" featuring Paul McCartney (Jackson)
4. "Thriller" (Temperton)
5. "Beat It" featuring Eddie Van Halen (Jackson)
6. "Billie Jean" (Jackson)
7. "Human Nature" (Bettis/Porcaro)
8. "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" (Ingram/Jones)

Special Edition release (2001)

1. "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" (Jackson) – 6:03

2. "Baby Be Mine" (Temperton) – 4:20
3. "The Girl Is Mine" featuring Paul McCartney (Jackson) – 3:42
4. "Thriller" (Temperton) – 5:57
5. "Beat It" (Jackson) featuring Eddie Van Halen – 4:17
6. "Billie Jean" (Jackson) – 4:53
7. "Human Nature" (Bettis/Porcaro) – 4:05
8. "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" (Ingram/Jones) – 3:58
9. "The Lady In My Life" (Temperton) – 4:58
10. Interview with Quincy Jones #1 – 2:18
11. "Someone in the Dark" (Bergman/Bergman/Temperton) – 4:48
* From the "E.T. Storybook"
12. Interview with Quincy Jones #2 – 2:04
13. "Billie Jean" (Home Demo from 1981) (Jackson) – 2:20
14. Interview with Quincy Jones #3 – 3:10
15. Interview with Rod Temperton #1 – 4:02
16. Interview with Quincy Jones #4 – 1:32
17. Voice-Over Session from "Thriller" (Temperton) – 2:52
18. Interview with Rod Temperton #2 – 1:56
19. Interview with Quincy Jones #5 – 2:01
20. "Carousel" (Sembello/D. Freeman) – 1:49
21. Interview with Quincy Jones #6 – 1:17

According to the Guinness World Records, Thriller is the world's best-selling album of all time, with sales estimated at 104 million copies. The album is also notable for being one of only three albums to remain in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 for one full year (along with Falling Into You by Celine Dion and Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette), spending 80 consecutive weeks in the Top 10, 37 of which were at number one. "Thriller" is also the first album of only three in history to produce seven Billboard Hot 100 top-ten singles, and the first and to date only album to be the best-selling album of two years (1983 and 1984) in the United States, according to Billboard.

  • Recorded and mixed by Bruce Swedien
  • Technical engineer: Matt Forger
  • Assistant engineer: Steve Bates and Mark Ettel
  • Additional sound sources recorded by Humberto Gatica and Matt Forger
  • Eddie Van Halen's guitar solo on "Beat It" recorded by Donn Landee


Recorded between April and November 1982, Thriller was the second of Michael Jackson's solo albums to be produced by Quincy Jones, though this time showcasing Jackson in a more prominent position of control than the preceding Off the Wall album from 1979. Of the nine tracks that came to be on the final project of the album, Jackson wrote four.

The album's first single, "The Girl is Mine" (a poppy duet with former Beatle Paul McCartney) was a commercially successful, though critically maligned, song that was solely written by Jackson. "The album's second single, "Billie Jean", was a more definitive hit. Despite the controversy surrounding the lyrics, which dealt with illegitimacy, "Billie Jean" catapulted Jackson and Thriller to the top of the charts. Jackson then performed "Billie Jean" at the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever special, showing off his signature dance move, the "Moonwalk", to an enormous audience.

From there, Jackson's already considerable success grew further. Jackson's reinvention as a crossover artist was complete with his third single, the rock number, "Beat It," which features guitar work by guitarist Eddie Van Halen. Several members of the Los Angeles band Toto contributed their musical talents.

  • "Hot Street"
  • "Nite Line"
  • "Trouble"
  • "Carousel" (also known as Circus Girl - a truncated version appeared on the Thriller Special Edition.)
  • "Love Never Felt So Good"
  • "Can't Get Outta The Rain" (featured on the Billie Jean single B-side)
  • "Someone in the Dark" (song featured in the movie E. T. - The Extra terrestrial - Michael was awarded a Grammy Award for the song in 1984)
  • "Got the Hots"
  • "Who Do You Know?"


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  2. Great blog ! Lots of cool information. Thanks for sharing.