Michael Jackson's Thriller Is 40 Years Old. Here's How It Changed the World


Forty years after the release of Thriller, the album that catapulted Michael Jackson into the superstardom stratosphere, Sony Music and The Estate of Michael Jackson announce the start of the global campaign to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the King of Pop’s landmark album.

As part of the campaign, the Estate of Michael Jackson and Sony Music will host fan events around the world, all free to the public, including immersive experiences, screenings of the Thriller 40 documentary, and other fan parties.

Photo by Sony Music, Michael Jackson Estate.

 Thriller Music Video

There will be two immersive experiences.  One in Dusseldorf, Germany, November 10-13 and the second in New York City, November 18-20. Each will feature specific track-focused experiences, interactive elements, and social and photo opportunities throughout.

Fans in eight other cities around the world will be treated to a private one-time-only screening of the Thriller 40 documentary which details the making of the biggest-selling album in the world. 


Album Cover of 'Thriller' in 1982

Photo by Shutterstock.

And in other cities, fans will be invited to special Thriller-themed parties celebrating the release of the new expanded album and will have the opportunity to hear the full double-disc album for the first time. 

Released November 30, 1982, the Thriller phenomenon revolutionized music, video standards, and choreography through Michael’s innovations for melding sound and visual art, the influence of which is still felt today. Thriller went on to win a record-setting eight Grammys and, with over one hundred million copies sold, it is the best-selling album of all time and the first album to be certified triple diamond by the RIAA.

Further details along with info on how the fans can get tickets for the various fan events can be found here.

How Thriller Changed the World 

Thriller holds a modern-day record of 37 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard. It was the first album in history to spend each of its first 80 weeks in the album chart’s Top 10, a feat only reached by one other album in the nearly four decades since. During its 112 th week on Billboard’s album chart, it became the first title ever to be certified RIAA 20X multi-Platinum (October 30, 1984) and became the first title ever to be certified more than RIAA 30X multi-Platinum in 2015 and since has been certified at 34x Multi-Platinum.

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Hundreds of people gathered to perform Michael Jackson's Thriller as part of the worldwide 'Thrill The World 2012' event in Vancouver, Canada

Photo by Sergei Bachlakov.

Worldwide, Thriller went to #1 in practically every country in the world, including the UK, France, Italy, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, South Africa, Spain, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa and remains the biggest selling album of all time with sales in excess of 100 million. Seven tracks from the album became Top 10 singles, and two, “Beat It,” and “Billie Jean,” went to No. 1.

The music on Thriller was so singular for the time it defied any definition of rock, pop, or soul that had gone before. 

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