Recorded - April 1981 - November 1982
Westlake Recording Studios
(Los Angeles, California)
Length 42:19 (Album Version)
73:06 (2001 Special Edition)
Thriller is the sixth studio album by American recording artist Michael Jackson. The album was released on November 30, 1982 by Epic Records as the follow-up to Jackson's critically and commercially successful 1979 album Off the Wall. Thriller explores similar genres to those of Off the Wall, including funk, disco, soul, R&B, and pop. Thriller's lyrics deal with themes including paranoia and the supernatural.
With a production budget of $750,000, recording sessions took place between April and November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California. Assisted by producer Quincy Jones, Jackson wrote four of Thriller's nine tracks. Following the release of the album's first single "The Girl Is Mine", some observers assumed Thriller would only be a minor hit record. With the release of the second single "Billie Jean", the album topped the charts in many countries. At its peak, the album was selling a million copies a week worldwide. In just over a year, Thriller became—and currently remains—the best-selling album of all time. Additionally, according to official RIAA estimates, merely on shipments, the album is approaching 30 million abums sold in the United States alone. Achieving this sales status will make it the first and only album to be certified Triple Diamond in the US. Furthermore, it would officially become the highest selling album in the US, surpassing the album that currently holds that title, Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) by The Eagles. Worldwide sales of the album are estimated to be as low as 70 million and as high as 110 million, with additional totals from singles being sold is estimated to be over 100 million copies worldwide. Seven of the album's nine songs were released as singles, and all reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards at the 1984 Grammys.
Thriller cemented Jackson's status as one of the predominant pop stars of the late 20th century, and enabled him to break down racial barriers via his appearances on MTV and meetings with President Ronald Reagan at the White House. The album was one of the first to use music videos as successful promotional tools—the videos for "Thriller", "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" all received regular rotation on MTV. In 2001, a special edition issue of the album was released, which contains additional audio interviews, a demo recording and the song "Someone In the Dark", which was a Grammy-winning track from the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial storybook. In 2008, the album was reissued again as Thriller 25, containing re-mixes that feature contemporary artists, a previously unreleased song and a DVD.
Thriller ranked number 20 on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list in 2003, and was listed by the National Association of Recording Merchandisers at number three in its Definitive 200 Albums of All Time. Thriller was preserved by the Library of Congress to the National Recording Registry, as it was deemed "culturally significant".