Thriller was the sixth album released by the American singer – who died in 2009 while preparing for his comeback ‘This Is It’ tour – and it was released on November 30, 1982. Reunited with ‘Off the Wall’ producer Quincy Jones, Jackson was inspired to create an album where “every song was a killer” and with the ongoing backlash against disco music, he moved in a new musical direction, incorporating pop, post-disco, rock and funk. The album featured some of Jackson’s most famous songs, such as ‘Billie Jean,’ ‘Beat It,’ ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,’ ‘P.Y.T,’ and ‘Thriller’ and would pave the way to the introduction of his signature moonwalk dance.
But Jackson hated it when he first heard it, investigative journalist Dylan Howard has claimed in his new book ‘Bad: An Unprecedented Investigation into the Michael Jackson Cover-Up.’
He writes: “In the summer of 1982, Quincy listened to about 600 song submissions to determine which nine would ultimately make up Thriller.
“Naturally, Michael’s own musical creations were among the candidates.
“Quincy had even recalled that Michael had been ‘writing music like a machine.’
“He’d already worked out much of the duet ‘The Girl is Mine’ with Paul McCartney, and he had written what would become the first song on the album, ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,’ years before during the Off the Wall sessions, though he’d been too shy to show it to Quincy at the time.”
The book goes on to detail how some of the album’s best songs almost didn’t make the cut and, remarkably, Jackson hated the mix when he first listened to it.
It adds: “During the Thriller sessions, he even delayed playing ‘Beat It’ for Quincy for the same reason.
“After Quincy selected the nine best songs, he customarily dropped the four weakest and replaced them with four more promising hit-making tracks.
“Those new songs on Thriller were ‘Pretty Young Thing,’ ‘Human Nature,’ ‘The Lady in My Life,’ and ‘Beat It.
“Incredibly, when Michael listened to the first mix of the album he hated it – as did Quincy, who notoriously called it ‘Twenty-four-karat sonic doo-doo.’
“The record label was putting immense pressure on them to deliver the album because Christmas was approaching.”
Mr Howard goes on to reveal how Jackson held firm against the record label, who wanted to push it out, insisting he needed more time.
He explains: “In an age long before digital downloads, the label understandably wanted shoppers to have plenty of time to hear it on the radio and go to the store to buy it.
“But Michael stood firm.
“‘We put too much material on the record,’ Quincy explained. ‘You can ruin a great album in the mix. It’s like taking a great movie and ruining it in the editing.’
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“It was decided that the team would take several more days to remix every song on the record.
“It worked wonders. Thriller was eventually released worldwide on the last day of November.”
His decision would pay dividends.
Mr Howard continues: “The album was a monster hit.
“Selling over a million copies a week at its peak, Thriller spent nearly 40 weeks as the number one record in the US and went number one in eight countries.
“It dug into the Top 10 for just shy of two years, produced seven top ten singles, and earned Michael eight Grammy awards, including album of the year and record of the year for ‘Beat It.’
“With total sales exceeding 66 million, Thriller also earned the Guinness World Record for ‘best selling album.’”
Jackson was found unconscious at his rented mansion in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, on June 25, 2009, having suffered from a cardiac arrest after his personal physician – Dr Conrad Murray – gave him medication to help him sleep.
Paramedics received a call at 12.22pm, and arrived three minutes later and administered CPR, but the 50-year-old was pronounced dead at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Centre two hours later.
In August that same year, the Los Angeles County Coroner ruled that Jackson’s death was a homicide and charged Dr Murray with involuntary manslaughter on February 8, 2010 – which he would later serve two years for.
‘Bad: An Unprecedented Investigation into the Michael Jackson Cover-Up,’ is available online and nationwide in the US from July 7.
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