“A one man rescue team for the music business.”
THRILLER RELEASED November, 1982
~record companies laid off employees due to the worst record sales in history
“I heard some say that recorded pop music couldn’t possibly survive.” Bruce Swedien
In the summer of 1982, no one could have imagined all THRILLER would accomplish.
The music industry went from recession to boom.
Epic celebrated a 500% increase in profits.
“There’s no question that THRILLER was the driving force behind what became the hottest span in Epic’s history.” Epic Vice President Dan Beck
“The quality of THRILLER inspired many people in the music industry. People were revitalized in believing that music would achieve great results.” Matt Forger
“The pulse of America and much of the rest of the world moves irregularly…beating in time to the tough street of BILLIE JEAN, the asphalt aria of BEAT IT, the supremely cool chills of THRILLER.” Time Magazine 1984
80 weeks in Top US
37 weeks #1
7 songs in Top 10
THRILLER WAS THE CITIZEN KANE OF SHORT FILMS Joseph Vogel
When you choose to KNOW the real Michael Jackson…ASK HIM!
“The idea is to take it a step forward and to innovate, or else, why am I doing it. I don’t want to be another can in the assembly line. I want to create, to do something totally different and unusual.”
~asked about Thriller and the short film
“You let it create itself really…I know I do. In my opinion it has to be completely entertaining and have a linear sense of continuity. I like having a beginning, and middle, and an ending…so you can follow a story…and, not just a collage of images. Sometimes that’s great, too…it depends on what the director as a visionary…what he sees. I’m very much involved in the complete making and creating of the piece. It has to be from my soul. Usually, it’s an interpretation of the music. I contacted John Landis, and we came together and we wrote it, the two of us. My idea was to make a short film with conversation at the beginning, make it linear and bookend it with conversation at the end. I love working with him (John Landis). We sat together and the chemistry, it starting working. Believe it or not, I’m afraid to watch scary movies, honestly, I don’t quite like to watch them very much. I never thought I’d be involved in making that sort of thing, but I am. I thought about watching it again, (THRILLER) but, I don’t cuz I don’t want to scare the children.”
“My idea, I always try to be a pioneer and innovator in whatever I do. My dream was always to make short little films cuz I’m a big fan of the Three Stooges and I love watching Curly, who I think is wonderful…they make these 15 minute shorts and I said, Gee, I would love to do something like that one day…with a linear story. So, this was my opportunity.”
Rod Temperton, who wrote THRILLER…that was one of the first Raps actually, he thought of having a rap at the end of it. We called Vincent Price and he said YES right away. So, Rod was taking his taxi from his hotel, he’s a German fellow, from his hotel to the studio and he wrote it within transit. He did a great job.”
“It was a delicate thing to work on. I remember my original approach was…how do you make zombies and monsters dance without it being comical? We have to do just the right kind of movement so it doesn’t become something that you laugh at…you know, take it to another level. I got in a room with Michael Peters and he and I together kind of imagined how these zombies should move by making faces in the mirror…I used to come to rehearsals sometimes with monster make-up on. I love doing that…so he and I choreographed the piece. I thought we should start and go into this kind of jazzy step, kind of gruesome things like that…not too much ballet or whatever.”
~when asked if the length worried him
“No, because I knew if we did something with substance and content, that people would watch…if it had great entertainment value and it held you, I knew we would be okay, and that was the idea. When I was in the editing room I knew I liked it. I enjoyed it. It has to be something that’s satisfying to me. I enjoyed what I’d seen when we finished it. So, I was happy with it…never completed satisfied, but I was happy. I’m not always happy with certain cuts and angles and timing, those sorts of things. It has to be just right.”
Interview…MTV’s 100 Greatest Videos 1999
May 14, 2008 THRILLER JOINED A LIST OF 25 RECORDED ITEMS PRESERVED IN THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS…FOR CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE
2009 FIRST MUSIC SHORT FILM EVER TO BE INDUCTED IN THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS FILM REGISTRY OF 100 FILMS.
2010 ALBUM SALES 110,000,000
1996 WORLD MUSIC AWARDS…ALBUM SALES OF MICHAEL JACKSON’S CATALOG 800,000,000
Dick Zimmerman is the man who took the legendary photographs for the THRILLER Album cover. He recalls that at the beginning of the photo shoot, Michael was very shy. Once the little tiger was brought into the studio, Michael started to relax. He had a way to interact and connect with the animal that was significant. It was absolutely fascinating to work with such a person. Michael is truly unique, and one day, maybe in 100 or 1000 years, the world will get it. The tiger was named William, and was much more nervous than Michael. But Michael’s tender personality and spirit helped him to calm down. The harmony between the tiger and Michael inspired the entire team, and more than 300 pictures were taken that day. In the end, Michael and the tiger were inseparable.”
~the legend continues
Oddly enough Michael had trouble speaking to large groups of people..he would say “um…ah. ” and then talk. Every single time! So I decided to suggest we rehearse his speaking and he agreed. He was never nervous performing… (singing or dancing). But of course he reheaersed and practiced every day. So we did the same thing with his speeches…..and he got better and better. When he was older the speaking became very fluent…which I was happy to see.
More about THRILLER and the back stories. I am still learning more and more! I would watch and listen to Michael composing and it was completely fascinating! (Reminded me of watching Mr BALANCHINE choreograph! Also fascinating! I was a very lucky girl!) Thanks to the Lord for my good fortune! And thank you Mr B and Michael!!!