Making the ideal album is a true art form. Taking a collection of individual songs and compiling them into a finished body of work requires a certain skill level. When everything comes together, an otherwise ordinary collection of songs transforms into something extraordinary, capturing the hearts and minds of music fans for decades to come. Do you know What was the Best-Selling Album in the US for 2 Years Straight?
Making the ideal album is a true art form. Taking a collection of individual songs and compiling them into a finished body of work requires a certain skill level. When everything comes together, an otherwise ordinary collection of songs transforms into something extraordinary, capturing the hearts and minds of music fans for decades to come.
The Midnight Man Album
While he already had the successful solo album Off the Wall (also produced by Quincy Jones), Michael Jackson aspired to create the best-selling album in history. He wished for Thriller to be similar to Tchaikovsky’s suite, in which “every song is a killer.”
Quincy Jones commissioned Rod Temperton, an arranger/songwriter, to create an album title. He jotted down 200 to 300 possible titles in his hotel room before settling on Midnight Man. He awoke the following day with the word “Thriller” in his head.
Something in my head just said, this is the title, You could visualize it on the top of the Billboard charts. You could see the merchandising for this one word, how it jumped off the page as ‘Thriller.’Rod Temperton, Songwriter
Temperton composed the music and wrote the lyrics, as well as the chorus.
We got to make it while we can / You need the starlight / Some starlight sun / I need you by my side/ you give me starlight / Starlight / tonight.Quincy Jones, Producer
Jones liked the melody but asked Temperton to return with something more akin to Edgar Allan Poe. The album title, Thriller was already set, so matching it to the song was simple.
Peggy Lipton, Jones’ then-wife, knew Price. The horror film legend recorded his part in two takes. When the album became popular, Price expressed dissatisfaction with his meager pay and claimed that Jackson had stopped returning his calls. (Source: Mental Floss)
The Iconic Thriller Video
The Showtime cable network paid $300,000 for the rights to air the music video and “making of” feature first, with MTV paying the rest to air it after Showtime. After seeing his work on the film An American Werewolf in London, Jackson asked John Landis to direct the video.
I want to turn into a monster, can I do that?Michael Jackson, King of Pop
Because Jehovah’s Witnesses, a group to which Jackson belonged at the time, informed the artist that “Thriller” supported Satanism, Landis wrote the disclaimer that appears at the beginning of the video. For one week in a Westwood, California movie theater, Thriller was the opening feature before the showings of Fantasia, which many parents didn’t like. (Source: Mental Floss)