36 Years Ago: A Bruised Ego Forces Michael Jackson To Unleash His Global Monster, ‘Thriller’
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1982 Classic Goes 33x Platinum
8 years after his death, King of Pop Michael Jackson smashed yet another career defining record as his 1982 masterpiece Thriller surpassed triple Diamond status, becoming the only album to surpass the RIAA’s 30x million mark in U.S. sales (until Eagles beat him in 2018) and more than 105 million copies sold worldwide.
When his 1979 album Off the Wall failed to take the following year’s Grammy Award for Record of the Year, Jackson vowed that his next album would be an impossible to ignore masterpiece – he got his wish. Within a year, Thriller became the world’s best-selling album of all time, yielding seven top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and sweeping the 1984 Grammy Awards with a whopping eight Grammys, including the coveted Album of the Year award he vowed to take home.
Thriller – #1 selling album in the world and the only album to surpass triple diamond status now has RIAA-certification of 33X platinum. pic.twitter.com/9ozSisRs7Z
— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) February 16, 2017
Imagine that: he set out to take home one award and wound up living to see Thriller inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and become one of 25 recordings preserved by the Library of Congress to the National Recording Registry as “culturally significant”. Not bad for a guy who only wanted to be recognized for his work!
“The pulse of America and much of the rest of the world moves irregularly, beating in time to the tough strut of ‘Billie Jean’, the asphalt aria of ‘Beat It’, the supremely cool chills of ‘Thriller’.” – TIME
Love him or hate him, a great album is a great album and there’s no denying that Michael Jackson put in the blood, sweat, and tears required to put forth an album hailed across the musical spectrum, earning praise from everyone from Slash and Eddie Van Halen to Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and Black Sabbath’s Bill Ward and Geezer Butler. Will we ever see another monster of an album like this? Only time will tell but for now, we think Thriller can rest on its laurels for a little while – it’s earned it.