Thriller, arguably superstar Michael Jackson’s most notable album of all time, just broke yet another record. The 1982 record is the first LP ever to be recognized for going 30-times platinum in the U.S. alone, bringing more in than 30 million sales.
Rolling Stone reports that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) confirmed on Wednesday that Thriller has now sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, according to RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman,
“RIAA has awarded gold and platinum records on behalf of the music business for nearly 60 years, but this is the first time an artist has crossed the 30 times multi-platinum plateau. What an exceptional achievement and testament to Thriller‘s enduring spot in our hearts and musical history.”
In a joint statement released this week, the co-executors of Michael Jackson’s estate, John Branca and John McClain, reflected on the success of the late King of Pop and how the world has never has such a phenomenal star.
“100 million albums and counting; there has never been a phenomenon like Thriller. Michael opened the floodgates of his creativity, explored emotional depths and pushed the boundaries of sonic innovation. In the process, he breached destructive barriers in the music industry and literally united the world through his music: there isn’t a place on this planet that hasn’t been exhilarated by the music of Michael Jackson.”
The History of Thriller
Thriller, released by Epic Records on November 30, 1982, was Jackson’s follow-up album to the singer’s 1979 major breakthrough album, Off the Wall. During the time period between Off the Wall until he began recording the songs for the Thriller album, Jackson admitted that he had become extremely despondent and began looking for ways to showcase his independence. Prior to starting to his work on the Thriller album, the King of Pop was quoted as saying,
“Even at home, I’m lonely. I sit in my room sometimes and cry. It’s so hard to make friends… I sometimes walk around the neighborhood at night, just hoping to find someone to talk to. But I just end up coming home.”
In 1979, Jackson hired Branca as his manager. He told Branca he was ready to be the biggest star in show business, and although Off the Wall was critically acclaimed and sold more than 20 million albums, he was disappointed in its sales and felt undervalued as a musician. Jackson reportedly told Branca that,
“It was totally unfair that it didn’t get Record of the Year and it can never happen again.”
Jackson hired producer Quincy Jones to help on the Thriller album, and after trimming 30 recorded songs down to 9, the album was released, and the end result was exactly what Jackson dreamt of. Thriller went on to win eight Grammy Awards and eight American Music Awards in 1984, and in the same year, three MTV Music Awards, as well as the Special Award of Merit.
On February 7, 1984, Thriller made it into “The Guinness Book of World Records” and was named as the world’s best-selling album.
On October 16, 2001, Thriller: Special Edition was released. The album included all nine original tracks, digitally-remastered, along with Jackson’s original recording of Billie Jean demo. An informational booklet was included, in addition to two bonus tracks: “Carousel” and “Someone in the Dark.”
In 2008, Epic Records released Thriller 25, the 25th anniversary edition reissue of Thriller. The album package includes a DVD with three music videos and a CD with the original songs, plus an additional seven bonus tracks. Although the album was released only on CD and vinyl, a “Super Deluxe Edition” is available on iTunes, which features additional bonuses like instrumental and extended remixes of some of the album’s most popular songs.
Thriller: Original Tracklist
1. Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
2. Baby Be Mine
3. The Girl Is Mine
5. Beat It
6. Billie Jean
7. Human Nature
8. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
9 The Lady In My Life
[Photo Courtesy of Lennox McLendon/AP]