Thriller is the best-selling album of all time, having sold 70 million copies worldwide. The song sealed MTV’s image as the new cultural force that eliminated racial barriers in the station’s music treatment. But did you know that Vincent Price had a role in the production of the Thriller song?
Vincent Price Rapped on “Thriller” and was given the option of receiving a fixed amount of $20,000 or a portion of the record sales when he agreed to provide the voice work for Thriller. He chose the $20,000.
Who is Vincent Price?
Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. is an American actor most known for his work in horror movies, also starred in films in the noir, drama, mystery, thriller, and comedy genres. He appeared in more than 100 films and on theater, television, and radio. He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one each for television and motion movies. He has a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame and was born and reared close to St. Louis, Missouri.
He held a degree in art history and worked as a consultant and lecturer in the arts field. The Vincent Price Art Museum remembers him at East Los Angeles College. He was a renowned gourmet chef as well. (Source: Horror Fandom)
The Spooky Rap of Vincent Price on Michael Jackson’s Thriller
Songwriter Rod Temperton originally called the song Starlight with the hook Starlight, starlight sun rather than Thriller, thriller night before changing the title to Thriller for Michael Jackson.
After deciding on a horror-show concept, Temperton had in mind a talking section at the conclusion, but he was stumped about how to proceed. Temperton finally settled on having someone, a famous voice in the horror genre, give the vocal for the talking section.
Vincent Price was recommended for the part by Peggy Lipton, who was then married to Jackson’s producer Quincy Jones and knew him.
Price claimed that when he agreed to perform the voiceovers, he was given the option of receiving a fixed payment of $20,000 or a share of the album sales. He decided on the $20,000 because he had a successful career and little financial stress. Price amiably chuckled when Carson remarked that Price could have fared far better if he had chosen album earnings. Carson was right on the money, as more than 110 million copies of the album have now been sold.
The song’s recording session had to be scheduled once Price had been secured, and the rap still needed to be composed. While traveling to the studio in a taxi, Temperton created the rhyme.
Although Price was happy to contribute his voice to the song, the recording engineer observed that since he had never used headphones before, he was shocked by them when he came to the studio. He hesitantly put them on, and when he heard the funky music track he was to speak over, he leaped out of his chair in astonishment. He ultimately needed some assistance with his signals to speak above the music, but he managed to pull it off flawlessly.
Price only needed two takes to complete his part of the song. Quincy Jones called Price’s skill and accuracy amazing because of the famously challenging nature of recording voiceovers. However, when you listen to the music, Price’s voice won’t always be audible. (Source: Legacy)