There’s no doubt that Michael Jackson’s Thriller is not only classic but timeless. The album was released and 1982 and features some of Jackson’s most popular singles, including the title track, “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Something.” It became the best-selling album worldwide by 1983. Thriller continues to break records nearly 40 years later. This week, it was announced that the album is now 34 platinum in the US, currently having 34 million copies sold, per Express.
As of today, Thriller remains the second best-selling album of all time in the US. The report notes that the album is still the best-selling album of all time worldwide, having sold 70 million copies. It’s also a huge commercially successful and critically acclaimed body of work, winning eight Grammy Awards during the 1984 show, including the coveted Album of the Year award.
Strangely, Jackson didn’t think the album would far well. He wasn’t a fan due to engineering issues he experienced during recording. Hypercritical and sensitive of his work, he contemplated not releasing it. “Thriller sounded so crap,” he told producer Quincy Jones once. “The mixes sucked. When we listened to the whole album, there were tears… I just cried like a baby. I stormed out of the room and said: ‘We’re not releasing this.'”
Luckily, he released it, creating a huge cultural impact. Though Jackson was already a star, Thriller would solidify him as a worldwide icon, despite him releasing five previous solo projects. It became Jackson’s first No. 1 album on Billboard. It’s also the album where he introduced his signature Moonwalk dance. He debuted the dance during a performance of “Billie Jean” on the 25th Anniversary of Motown special.
Jackson was super selective during the recording of the album. According to investigative journalist Dylan Howard’s book Bad: An Unprecedented Investigation into the Michael Jackson Cover-Up, Jones listened to an estimated 600 song submissions for the album with just nine ultimately making the cut for Thriller. After Jones selected the nine, he “customarily dropped the four weakest and replaced them with four more promising hit-making tracks.”