Thriller is the sixth studio album by the American recording artist Michael Jackson. It 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 pop, R&B, rock, post-disco, funk, and adult contemporary music.Recording sessions took place between April and November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California, with a production budget of $750,000, assisted by producer Quincy Jones.
Of the album’s nine tracks, four were written by Jackson. Seven singles were released from the album, all of which reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Three of the singles had music videos released. “Baby Be Mine” and “The Lady in My Life” were the only tracks that were not released as singles. In just over a year, Thriller became—and currently remains—the best-selling album of all time, with sales of 65 million copies worldwide according to various sources. In the United States, it also tied with the Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) as the best-selling album at 29 million units shipped.The album won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards in 1984, including for Album of the Year.
Thriller enabled Jackson to break down racial barriers in pop music via his appearances on MTV and meeting with President of the United States 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, demo recordings 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, which features the short films from the album and the Motown 25 performance of “Billie Jean”.
Thriller was 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. The Thriller album was included in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry of culturally significant recordings, and the Thriller video was included in the National Film Preservation Board’s National Film Registry of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films”. In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at number one on its list of “Best Albums of the 1980s”