Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' revolution turns 40

By Philippe GRELARD

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Thriller was an influence to everyone in my generation. It was on the radio and on the new "MTV" cable channel. Everyone enjoyed the catchy tunes. I've never gotten burnt out on that music, unlike some others.

Genesis sold out to a beer company! I can't hear any of that music again, it was so overplayed.

For the Ozzy and Van Halen crowd, Thriller was still something we enjoyed.

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Ok NO thanks....

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Ok NO thanks....

Nobody's making you buy it.

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Has it already been 40 years?!

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Yes, that album was a festival for the ears, an outstanding musical delicacy. And best of all, we then still had real equipment for listening, like record players, analogue amplifiers and real speakers with a three digit Watts amount at that time, not those little expensive but worthless plastic and minimized toys of our era.

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If it weren't for the Japanese management apparently screwing up the deal, YMO's song "Behind the Mask" would have been the biggest song in Japanese history if it had been included on "Thriller" as originally planned - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behind_theMask(song)

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theFuNov. 26  08:23 am JST

Thriller was an influence to everyone in my generation. It was on the radio and on the new "MTV" cable channel. Everyone enjoyed the catchy tunes. I've never gotten burnt out on that music, unlike some others.

BION there were still quite a number of people in my hometown, HS class, and some US Navy cohorts who couldn't get into that '(racist word) stuff'. One particular AOR station in my hometown 'proudly boasts' they have never ever played a single track from this album, not even 'Beat It'.

As it is, this album came out at a perfect time. Radio in my hometown (at least) was boring as hell. It had become a predictable audio slush, totally insipid. When 'Thriller' came out, it spearheaded a lot of changes in radio (and MTV helped push it along). Duran Duran made their huge Fab Five explosion with 'Rio', heralding a new British Invasion. Def Leppard's 'Pyromania' kicked off the glam metal revolution. SO much great music coming at us at once after a period of blandness. All this great rock'n'roll, incl. the 'Thriller' album told the DJs - we want to hear this music and we want it NOW!!!!!! For a number of years, it broke the 'corporate radio' chains. And this album scored at least SEVEN Top Ten hits! An unprecedented feat for sure.

I can recall a zillion memories of so many of these songs during my teen and adult life. 'The Lady in my Life' was the last song played at my HS grad party, and I remember the girl who I danced with to it! Memories! And now we get a bonus CD with the B-sides that I remember playing on military base jukeboxes (I've always been curious, and some non-album B-sides are truly unique themselves. Check out some U2 B-sides if you don't believe me).

I have a lot of listening and reminiscing to do this Thanksgiving weekend!

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All these memories, all these events in my life, all those PYTs - in my life and yours. This is a true bonafide classic, without a doubt. It certainly has something there for everyone, just like the Prince discography.

This is the biggest selling album ever, in the US and the entire world. Music like this unifies the races, colors, cultures, etc.

Yet I can't help but wonder - 40 years later America still has an ugly searing racist undertone and foundation underneath. The past few years certainly have amplified that and brought it to full blossom. And even today we have racism in radio programming formats. 'Thriller' certainly made history yet there's a bunch of Americans who never grew up, musically or otherwise. Such an enigma.

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The boss of Jackson's parent label at CBS, Walter Yetnikoff, "threatened to publicly denounce MTV as huge racists and block their access to videos of rock artists in its catalogue", said Cachin.

Yetnikoff won that battle but then found himself clashing with Jackson over his plans for a $1 million video for the album's last single, the title track "Thriller".

Jackson wanted to work with director John Landis, having loved his movie "An American Werewolf in London", while Yetnikoff thought the plan was pointless when the album was already at number one.

"But Michael had a vision, and he was stubborn," said Cachin.

The resulting 14-minute mini-film was premiered at a Hollywood cinema before a star-packed crowd and helped re-energize sales of the album.

David Bowie (who pioneered in the rise of MTV) himself criticized the channel for the same thing. He himself had an album ready to go that would score a #1 hit song in America. Because of him and Yetnikoff (and maybe others), MTV relented and aired the 'Billie Jean' video to everyone's benefit. MTV and some radio stations started adding more 'black' videos and songs into their formats, particularly funk and reggae. Bowie himself would make a 15-minute mini-film similar to 'Thriller' in 1984 with 'Jazzing for Blue Jean'.

A lot of doors were opened up with this album, many walls went down. Yet there still is so much vapid insipid milquetoast rubbish on the airways and video networks. Nonetheless, there's no denying the historical impact this 43-minute album has stirred up. Nothing can deny it or take that away.

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