50

Michael Jackson

Thriller

Nov 1982

Features Paul McCartney, Eddie Van Halen and Vincent Price

Pop and Soul

It possibly comes as no surprise that the people’s choice for Number 50 in our selection of the best ever albums also happens to be the biggest selling record of all time. Thriller sold over 65 million globally, with an amazing 32 million sold in the US alone!

All killer, no filler was Jackson’s dream for Thriller, and the fact that only two of the nine tracks were not released as singles rather suggests he achieved that. The album won a record eight Grammy Awards, including album of the year, and has continued to garner acclaim and sales to this day.

Produced by long-term collaborator Quincy Jones, the album also features the talents of members of Toto, Paul McCartney on ‘The Girl Is Mine’, Eddie Van Halen’s guitar pyrotechnics on ‘Beat It’ and the voice of actor Vincent Price on the outro to the title track – the spoken words of which were penned by the late English songwriter Rod Temperton in a cab on the way to the recording session.

The recording itself is crisp and highly detailed – the seemingly endless layers of sound on some tracks always remain clear and well defined. Another key to the great sound is the snap of the transients, where drum strikes and initial hits of strings drive the music on. Proving great sounding and popular can be one and the same thing.