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Thriller
Michael Jackson
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Thriller is not so much an '80s pop song as the soundtrack to a cult horror movie. Cult may not have been on the mind of The King Of Pop but Thriller has become an institution thanks to the tragicomic narrative that runs through its lyrics and is carried through to the video.
Michael Jackson
Song facts
Composer Rod Temperton
Genre Pop
Album Thriller
Year of Release 1983

Rod Temperton may have penned the tune but Quincy Jones' slick production turned it into Thriller as we know it. Accused of LA overkill by some, he is forgiven as this was the electronics age of the '80s, and everyone wanted to spell the end of D.I.S.C.O. with a synthesiser. Mind, if you listen carefully, there is a glimmer of the glitter ball in the backing of Thriller. And with creaking doors, howling wolves and squirly theremins, the kitsch remains in the special effects.

Just in case you missed the horror angle, there's a 14-minute video directed by John An American Werewolf in London Landis. Jackson dances his way through the story as a werewolf and, by the end of 1984, kids all over the world were copying him.

The timing, an iconic video and an all-singing/all-dancing Jacko at the top of his game made Thriller into one of the most recognisable products ever. No record collection is complete without the album.

Susan McFarland


Other versions
Ian Brown
Listen Possibly the most unlikely candidate to cover the King of Pop's masterpiece. Ian Brown takes some of the pop out and gives it a Madchester stamp.

We'd waited all day for the Thriller video to come on. Sitting there all excited. The opening 'dah dah'. And then a power cut.


Emma

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For expert advice on writing decent lyrics, great hooks or a melody to get the A&R scout humming see Songwriting.
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