Can you believe it’s been 40 years since Michael Jackson‘s Thriller album was released? I think everyone had a copy! As evidence, Thriller was actually the first album to be certified triple diamond by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album spawned seven top ten singles including “Beat It”, “Billie Jean” and the album’s title track. There were over 100 million albums sold around the world.
To celebrate this four decade anniversary, you’ll be able to pick up a 40th Anniversary double-CD set of the original Thriller album along with a bonus disc of rarities and demos Michael Jackson was working on that didn’t make it on the album. There will also be 40,000 numbered copies of vinyl albums available and a hybrid super audio CD. An UltraDisc two-LP vinyl set will also be available at some point.
An exclusive version of the original album with an alternate 40th anniversary cover will be available at Walmart, while Target will offer an exclusive version of the original album with a commemorative Thriller 40 vinyl slip mat.
I remember when that album came out. It was in heavy rotation on MTV. The inclusion of Eddie Van Halen on “Beat It” and forget about the Thriller video! It took the music video format to a whole other level. Eddie Van Halen is the reason “Beat It” sounds the way it does. He said when he got the call from Quincy Jones, initially he didn’t believe it was him. Eddie met Quincy and Michael at the studio, listened to the song and asked if he could make some changes. He got the ok and here’s what happened next:
According to Van Halen, after Jackson listened to the new version the king of pop said, “Wow, thank you so much for having the passion to not just come in and blaze a solo, but to actually care about the song, and make it better.” (from this article)
As we speak, there’s a documentary in the works about the making of the Thriller album. There’s no word yet on when you’ll be able to get that peek into the creative process of Michael Jackson so for now, the 40th Anniversary collection, Thriller 40, will be out November 18.
Here’s a taste of that process: