Michael Jackson’s Thriller was a musical gamechanger that shaped the world as
we know it. Find out how this record has stood the test of time for 4 decades.
Forty Years After Thriller
This year marks four decades since pop superstar, Michael Jackson, released his iconic Thriller album
with Epic Records. The album has become more than simply a meteoric success. Forty years down
the line, Thriller has gone down in history as one of the most beloved albums of all time .
Thriller was a ground-breaking album for its time. Jackson and his team artfully combined pop, hip
hop, R&B, disco, and rock ‘n’ roll music to give rise to something truly original, and unquestionably
brilliant. The album features multiple hits – the titular Thriller, Billie Jean, and Beat It among others.
Jackson used the album as an opportunity to make strides in the world of music video production as
well as pop. The music videos that followed the release of Thriller were true theatrical productions, a
trend which has influenced music video producers ever since.
Thirteen years after his passing, Jackson is still remembered for his incredible contributions to both
the culture and industry of music, with Thriller serving as a reminder of his bold creativity.
Thriller’s 40th Anniversary Release
Michael Jackson’s Estate has partnered with Sony Music to honor the legacy of Thriller with a special
40 th Anniversary edition of the album. The two-disc set will feature all the original tracks alongside
several tracks that were never released for public ears – until now. Jackson fans can expect to hear
new material recorded by the King of Pop in his prime.
Thriller’s Many Accolades
To this day, Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time by a solo artist, and the second best-
selling album of all time overall. Since its release in 1982, the album has reaped a staggering $100
million in sales. It also broke records when it was certified 30x multi-platinum, a feat never before
achieved by any other album. It stands now at 34x multi-platinum.
In 1984, Thriller won a grand total of eight Grammy Awards, becoming the most highly lauded album
of all time. In the same year, Michael Jackson won eight American Music Awards due to his work on
Thriller was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008, just a year before Jackson’s death. For
the singer, this must have felt like hitting an online pokies jackpot.
Thriller’s Sociocultural Significance
Thriller represented more than just commercial success for Jackson and other black artists in
America. Prior to Thriller’s phenomenal success, Jackson had struggled to gain the same level of
representation in popular media due to his skin color. MTV was at the time notoriously reluctant to
air music videos by black artists.
The sheer popularity of Thriller made it an ideal point of leverage for Jackson’s label to use to get
him more airtime on MTV, which skyrocketed not only his career, but the success of other black R&B
and hip-hop artists as well.
While we can only speculate about the measurable impact that Thriller had for black artists in the
music industry, many liberal-minded members of the industry point to the album and to Jackson as a
turning point for breaking down racial barriers in music.
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