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Release date: 30 November 1982
Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.) Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ / Baby Be Mine / The Girl Is Mine (with Paul McCartney) / Thriller / Beat It / Billie Jean / Human Nature / P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) / The Lady in My Life
Sales (in millions): 29.0 US, 4.27 UK, 72.4 world (includes US and UK)
Peak: 137 US, 18 UK
Review: Thriller was the follow-up to Michael Jackson’s blockbuster album Off the Wall, which had accomplished the rare feat of four top ten hits on the U.S. pop charts. “The sweet schmaltz of the Paul McCartney duet The Girl Is Mine” AMG became the leadoff single, sailing to #2. Two #1 hits followed – the massive “disco-inflected” NRR Billie Jean and Beat It, which by adding hard-rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen, “bridged arena rock and soul four years before Run DMC met Aerosmith.” TL Both have endured the test of time well enough to secure spots in the Dave’s Music Database book The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era, 1954-1999.
Resources and Related Links:
- the DMDB page for Thriller
- the DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry for Michael Jackson
- AMG All Music Guide review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
- AZ Amazon.com review by Rickey Wright
- BN Barnes & Noble review by Michael Hill
- RC Robert Christgau
- CC Chris Connelly, Rolling Stone, originally in print issue 387
- MF Mike Fish (June 1992: #100), The Wire. “The Most Important Records Ever Made.”
- EK Eric Klinger, PopMatters’ Counterbalance series.
- JM Jason Mendelsohn, PopMatters’ Counterbalance series.
- NRR National Recording Registry
- Q Q4Music.com review (from October 2000 print issue; no longer online) by Ian Cranna
- RV The Review “100 Greatest Albums of All Time” by Clarke Speicher (October – November 2001; Vol. 128: numbers 12-23).
- TL Time Magazine’s “All-TIME 100 Albums” by Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light (11/13/06)
- UT USA Today, Top 40 Albums – the USA Today Way (12/5/2003).
- VB Vibe 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century, pp. 154-1964. (Dec. 1999)
- WR The Wire “The 100 Most Important Records Ever Made” (June 1992: #100).