1983 – Michael Jackson’s Album Thriller went to No.1 in the US

On the 26th of February 1983, Michael Jackson’s Thriller went to No.1 on the US album chart. The album was one of the first to use music videos as successful promotional tools, and the videos for the songs ‘Thriller’, ‘Billie Jean’, and ‘Beat It’ all received regular rotation on MTV. Thriller became the most successful album of all time with sales over 65 million copies.

Thriller is Michael Jackson’s sixth studio album. It was released on November 29, 1982, by Epic Records. It was produced by Quincy Jones, who had previously worked with Jackson on his 1979 album Off the Wall and who would later produce his 1987 album Bad. Jackson moved in a new musical direction, resulting in a mix of pop, rock, funk, synth-pop, and R&B sounds. Paul McCartney appears on “The Girl Is Mine”, the first credited appearance of a featured artist on a Michael Jackson album. Recording took place from April to November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, California.

Thriller became Jackson’s first number-one album on the US Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart, where it spent a record 37 weeks at number one, from February 26, 1983, to April 14, 1984. Seven singles: “The Girl Is Mine”, “Billie Jean”, “Beat It”, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ ”, “Human Nature”, “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”, and “Thriller”, all reached the top 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. Following Jackson’s performance of “Billie Jean” in the Motown 25 television special, where he debuted his signature moonwalk dance, the sales of the album significantly increased, selling one million copies worldwide per week.

With 32 million copies sold worldwide by the end of 1983, Thriller became the best-selling album of all time, as confirmed by Guinness World Records on February 7, 1984. It was the best-selling album in the world in 1983, and in 1984 it became the first album to be the best-selling in the United States for two years in a row. It established industry standards with its songs, music videos, and promotional techniques, influencing artists, record labels, producers, and choreographers.

Michael Jackson, 1982, Image: Sony Music