World’s All Time Best Selling Album Turns 35

The 30th of November 2017, marks 35 years since the best-selling album of all time was released. In just over a year after the release, the album racked up sales of an estimated 66 million copies worldwide, breaking records and remaining undefeated to this day. I am of course referring to the ‘Thriller’ album, released by Michael Jackson in 1982.

‘Thriller’ was the first album to be certified 33x multi-platinum, after selling over 33 million album equivalent units. It was also the first album to win, a record-breaking, 8 Grammy awards in 1984; including Album of the Year, and Best R&B Song. It included multiple hit songs such as Billy Jean, Wanna be Startin’ Something, Beat It, Pretty Young Thing and Thriller- All of which, soon reached the top 10 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The album quickly gained a lot of attention for challenging the racial barriers in the music industry too. There was an indisputable division between races, and even between different types of music. A young black artist merging pop, rock and dance music, appealed to audiences from all backgrounds and as a result, began paving the way for artists to come. Michaels Jackson’s lyrics were also known to be meaningful, and address issues that most other artists preferred not to comment on. For example, ‘Heal The World’ and ‘Earth Song’– both of which had meaningful music videos too, including visuals that aimed to raise awareness about injustices all around the world.

Global superstars like Beyoncé and Chris Brown, have credited Michael Jackson’s for inspiring their work, and have continued to pay tribute to him throughout their careers.

In an interview with Coventry’s Michael Jackson super fan club leader, Akhtarun Miah, she described the event as ‘a milestone’.

‘Thriller was just different, there was nothing else released like it. Even the videos were just so exciting, they were like mini-movies. One of them was 14 minutes long, I remember being so excited at home 3 minutes had passed and the song hadn’t even started yet. Nobody can deny that Michael Jackson is an icon, and Thriller turning 35 and still being the best selling album, just goes to show how he’s the king of pop and he will stay the king of pop- he’s irreplaceable”.

Speaking also to an employee at HMV in Coventry, I asked if they planned to do anything special for the occasion.

“I actually heard about this anniversary the other day and I just can’t believe it’s been so long. I remember when Thriller first came out, I must’ve been only about 9 or 10. Even now I just think the whole story of each video and song was just imaginative.”

“It’s what music is all about- right? I don’t think we’ll be doing anything different to normal in store, but I’ll definitely be letting customers know, maybe it’ll add to those millions of sales’.”

All the success enabled Jackson’s appearances on MTV and even led to him meeting President Ronald Reagan at the White House. In the same year, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame along with Off the Wall. And In 2012, Slant Magazine named Thriller the best album of the 1980s’ in 2003, Rolling Stone placed the album at number 20 on their list of ‘The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time’- but perhaps the numbers prove otherwise.

35 whole years later and Thriller is still undefeated – Everyone knows Michael Jackson, everyone knows Thriller.

 

Saleena Ali

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