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Michael Jackson - Thriller (1984)

  • Video Views 775,561,758
  • 80's Score80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.64
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"Thriller" is a single by American singer Michael Jackson. It was released as a single by Epic Records on January 23, 1984 as ...

"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.

Music video

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.

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