Michael Jackson was arguably one of the most talented singers and dancers of all time, evident from his works that still resonate with the audience today. Despite his death in 2009, his contribution to the music industry is still felt – case in point, his Thriller album that smashed records since its release in 1982.
This year marks the 36th anniversary of the album that made Jackson’s popularity even grew bigger and stronger, if it was indeed possible. Perhaps this was the peak of the King of Pop’s career, the singer’s rightful moniker after being dubbed as one of the best entertainers of all time. Fans of the deceased icon should not get this wrong: he had created multiple albums that were nothing short of perfection, but Thriller is arguably the defining compilation of his career.
This iconic album was released on Nov. 30, 1982, and since then, it had not amassed praises from fans from across the world. It even became the record-holder for best-selling music album for many years before being bumped to the second spot by the Eagles with the album Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975.
Jackson’s Thriller album has sold more than 33 million copies to date, and the popularity is nowhere close to slowing down anytime soon. This figure is just in the United States, so just imagine how the sales are faring in other parts of the world. Whereas the new record-holding album by Eagles boasts 38 million sold copies, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
As much as the Eagles beat Jackson in the United States, Thriller proved to be the real king in terms of global sales. There were varying reports about the total number of record sold worldwide, but others say Thriller have sold more than 66 million copies, while some believe sales soared up to over 100 million.
Nonetheless, Jackson proved his works remain significant even years after his death. Moreover, the revenue amassed from the US and global sales of the album have helped rake in millions of dollars for the King of Pop. Forbes reported that the cultural icon managed to score a whopping $134 million in the two years following the release of the album.
Not only that, but Jackson allegedly earned $1.1 billion throughout his career, although this was far from the definitive figure as his estate still brings in posthumous money. In fact, the property garnered $700 million until 2014, or five years after his death.
Meanwhile, the Thriller album, which included the hits Billie Jean, Beat It and Thriller was heralded as the first ones that push the racial hurdle by using music as an avenue of promotional art. It was believed that these songs helped catapult MTV to popularity.
‘Thriller’ Music Video
On Dec. 2, Thriller’s music video celebrated its 35th anniversary. The nearly 14-minute video, which revolved around everything about Halloween, from wolves to zombies, was nothing short of spectacular – it alone had won three MTV Awards, a Grammy Award, and two American Music Awards. More notable was its inclusion to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, the only one to be inducted.
The music video was so epic it’s touted as one of the best music videos of all time. Fans back then were in awe of the mini-movie that had horror as the theme, which was quite a game-changer in the industry.
On Staying Humble
Obviously, Jackson experienced triumph career-wise, there’s no doubt he was celebrated in every aspect of the industry. But believe it or not, despite his massive success and his vast influence on culture and the industry, the entertainer, who popularized dance steps like the “moonwalk” and “robot,” had his feet firmly on the ground. In an interview, he revealed that his trophies weren’t displayed at his house to remind him not to be complacent despite what he had achieved.
A nod to this were reports that said the Thriller album was an answer to Jackson’s disappointment for his 1979 album Off The Wall which had sold more than 50 million copies. By the sound of that, it meant commercial success, but for him, it was not enough because it did not win best album.