Yep. It has been two-and-a-half decades, but, today is the 25TH Anniversary of Micheal Jackson’s video/choreo-dance “Thriller”.
Yes, those dance steps we all could not wait to try out on our captive parents, friends, siblings, neighbors, co-workers, bosses…………..
Those snazzy zombie movements that were the bomb—or should I say, were the graveyard beat of the last century.
It was a 14-minute music video for the song of the same name released on December 2, 1983 and directed by John Landis. It is considered to be the best music video of all time, and redefined the concept of music videos; hence it is acclaimed in its genre. It was the most expensive video of its time, costing $800,000 — the equivalent of 1.4 million in 2007 U.S. dollars, until Michael beat his own record with sister Janet for the $7,000,000 video for “Scream”. It also held the record for the world’s longest music video, until ceding that to Jackson’s 35 minute, long-form music video, “Ghosts”, in 1996.
The “Thriller” video premiered on December 2, 1983 on MTV, exactly a year and a day after the album’s December 1, 1982 release. Hugely popular, even by the standards of Michael’s prior releases, “Thriller” went into heavy rotation on MTV, being played as much as twice an hour (especially notable considering the piece’s fourteen-minute run time). The video won the inaugural MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography in 1984.
Released at the same time of the 14-minute video was an hour-long documentary providing behind the scenes views of the production and the choreography of how “Thriller” was made. This video, entitled Making Michael Jackson’s Thriller, was also shown heavily on MTV for a time and was the top-selling home-video release of all time at one point, with more than 9 million copies sold.
Who can forget the following classics that still stand the test of time:
“Beat It,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin,” “Thriller” and “Billie Jean”?
Who has not put their hand into a sequinned glove, put on the well-constructed shoes, and made numerous attempts (many in vain) to try and dance like the King of Pop in a desire to mimic his classic “Moonwalk” glide as only Michael can do it? How many tried to do the “Robot” only to come off looking like robots with no sense of rhythm? How many have danced to the beat of those killer zombies of “Thriller”, zombies who could put the greatest of dancers to shame, while they shaked, shimmied and bopped to the bass of the “funk of 40,000 years”? Who can forget Vincent Price’s classy voice-over narrative of those ghouls who hungrily chased after Michael and his lady friend, Ola Ray?
Twenty-five years. Hard to believe that so many years have passed. Here is what the rest of the world is saying about Micheal’s video, a video that forever changed how we view music videos right up to today:
25TH ANNIVERSARY OF ‘THRILLER’ PLANNED
Published: Nov. 30, 2007 at 2:52 PM
NEW YORK, Nov. 30 (UPI) — Epic Records/Legacy Recordings announced plans to release a 25th anniversary edition of Michael Jackson’s monster hit album, “Thriller.”The new, deluxe version of the award-winning album is set to hit U.S. stores on Feb. 12 and will feature new and previously unreleased bonus tracks, including remixes by Akon, will.i.am and Kanye West. Showcasing classic songs like “Beat It,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin,” “Thriller” and “Billie Jean,” the new package will also include a bonus DVD, featuring digitally restored music videos.The album will go on sale worldwide the week of Feb. 11.Legacy Recordings said the 25th anniversary “Thriller” celebration will kick off in December with the release of a new single.
© 2007 United Press International.”
The wait. The anticipation of getting the video release into our hands, popping it into the VHS VCR (or Sony Betamax, if you will, for those of us who owned [or still own] our Sony SL-5600 VCRs), and then, finally…………there it was.
Music history in the making.
I still own my black vinyl LP of “Thriller”. I still own my Betamax copy of “Thriller”; I also still own my Laserdisc and RCA SelectaVision CED disc copies of “Thriller” as well.
I guess you could safely say that I kinda like “Thriller”.
Michael made use of innovative, beautiful movements in “Thriller” and the music and the lyrics are the best of any album of the latter part of the last century.
Here are more accolades attesting to the longevity, the endurance, the masterful accomplishment of “Thriller”:
“Originally released in the US 25 years ago on November 30, 1982 by Epic Records, Thriller, Michael Jackson’s sixth solo album and second with producer Quincy Jones, rocketed the former child-star lead singer for the Jackson 5 into the stratosphere of international superstardom. Introducing the “robot” and the “moonwalk” into the international lexicon of clubland dance moves via the pulsing sounds of Thriller, Michael Jackson revolutionized all aspects of mainstream pop culture — from radio airwaves to the newly emerging art form of music videos — becoming the world’s most popular entertainer in the process.“
The original Thriller spent an astounding 80 consecutive weeks in the American Top 10, 37 of those at #1. Seven of the album’s original nine tracks became Top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 while Individual singles from Thriller reached #1 chart positions in the US, the UK, France, Italy, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, South Africa, Spain, Ireland, New Zealand and Canada.“Thriller made history as the first and only record to be America’s top- selling album two years running (1983 and 1984).
“Thriller has been certified 27x platinum by the RIAA, giving it Double Diamond Award status in the US. In addition, the album has achieved Diamond or Multi-Platinum status in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. In 1985, the Guinness Book of Records named Thriller the Best Selling Album of All Time, an achievement which remains unsurpassed to this day.
“In February 1984, Michael Jackson held a record-breaking 12 Grammy nominations, going on to win eight, which stands as the record for most Grammy Awards to be won by anyone in a single year. Seven of Michael’s Grammys that year were for Thriller: Album of the Year; Record of the Year (“Beat It”); Best Male Pop Vocal Performance (“Thriller”); Best Engineered Recording, Non- Classical (Thriller); Best Male Rock Vocal Performance (“Beat It”); Best Male R&B Vocal Performance (“Billie Jean”); Best R&B Song (“Billie Jean”). (Michael’s eighth Grammy that year was in the Best Recording For Children – Single or Album, Musical or Spoken category for “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”). That same year, Michael Jackson took home eight American Music Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards. The following year, “The Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller” took home the Best Video Album trophy at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards.
“Named the “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time” by the Guinness World Records, Michael Jackson is among the most highly acclaimed and influential artists in pop culture. He was named the World Music Award’s Best-Selling Pop Male Artist of the Millennium and received the American Music Award’s Artist of the Century Award. He has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice: in 1997 as a member of the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist in 2001.”
Tonight, I will put on “Thriller” and let Michael, the zombies, the grisly ghouls, Vincent and the music and lyrics bring back fond memories when music could transcend across all socio-economic classes, racial/ethnic groups, genders——-without having to resort to profanity and degrading stereotypes that offended—–music that was, and still is music in the truest sense.
See it again and realize that at that time we were witness to the outstanding creative genius of Michael Jackson at work on a song/video that many of us never knew would have such a profound change in music video formats and technical production. ************************************************************************************************************
MICHAEL JACKSON CELEBRATES HIS ’50TH’BIRTHDAY!
“POP SUPERSTAR TURNS 50”: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7448908.stm
“PRINCE, MADONNA, AND MICHAEL JACKSON TURN 50 THIS YEAR”: http://blog.cleveland.com/lifestyles/2008/06/prince_madonna_and_michael_jac.html
One response to “THRILLER”
Thank you for this enjoyable post on Thriller.
I too couldn’t wait to get Thriller and play it over and over again.
Can’t believe Michael is gone.
Much kudos on a beautifully written post.