What’s the top-selling CD of all time? It’s Thriller, by Michael Jackson. It has sold 43.2 million copies, though some claim its sales top 65 million, depending on who is counting. (Some even claim it sold one hundred million copies.) The album won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards in 1984, including one for Album of the Year. Thriller has been included in the Library of Congress’ National Recording Register (in 2007) 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.”
Full of “record-hurtling hits” like “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “P.Y.T.,” seven singles were released from the album, all of which reached Billboard Magazine’s Top 10. And when Jackson first moonwalked while singing “Billie Jean,” during a live TV broadcast on May 16, 1983, moonwalking became a national sensation. Jackson, the former child-star lead singer for the Jackson 5, was catapulted into the stratosphere of international super-stardom, and some would say into the celebrity life that led to his ultimate–and ugly–downfall.
Thriller 25 is the 25th-anniversary edition of the original album and was released on February 12, 2008. Along with the original material, the reissue contains remixes, new material, and a DVD. It has gone on to sell more than 15 million copies, worldwide.
The Thriller video–a 14-minute horror spoof–revolutionized music videos, and has been called the most “influential pop music video of all time.”
You can read all about this video in The Making of Thriller (781.64 KIR) by Douglas Kirkland. Be sure to check out the holographic cover!
Meanwhile, interest in Jackson’s music continues unabated: his Facebook page has 59 million followers, and Cirque du Soleil has a world touring show called “Michael Jackson: the Immortal.”
My own favorite cut from Thriller is “Human Nature,” and here it is as a music video.