It’s almost Halloween and for the past 25 years Michael Jackson’s Thriller has been played at some point on or around the 31st of every October.
Thriller, a 14-minute feature-length movie and a music video was released on December 2, 1983. It was the most expensive video of its time, costing US$500,000, and Guinness World Records listed it in 2006 as the “most successful music video”, selling over 9 million units. Often referred to as the greatest music video ever, Thriller proved to have a profound effect on popular culture, and was named “a watershed moment for the music industry” for its unprecedented merging of filmmaking and music. Wikipedia
I watched the whole 14 minute original video on YouTube and then got lost in various versions of it, including a strange video of 1500 inmates dressed in orange from a detention facility in the Philippines all doing the “thriller” zombie dance in unison. We-ird.
I have to admit that at this time of year I often catch myself humming:
cause this is thriller, thriller night and no ones gonna save you from the beast about to strike
I can’t help myself. I even twitch my head to my shoulder to the beat like they do in the video (if no ones watching). If you’re wondering, I never did take the time to learn all the dance moves and I probably never will, but it’s fun watching others do it.
There is even a web site dedicated to getting as many people as possible from all around the world to dance to Thriller at the same time. Each year they try to break the last years flash mob record of dancers participating. This year “Thrill the World” was this past Saturday/Sunday October 24/25 depending on where in the world you live. The numbers aren’t in for this year yet, but in 2008 a record 4,179 people from 10 nations (Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Ireland, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Scotland, United States of America, and Wales) simultaneously performed The Thriller Dance. Keep in mind this was done almost 26 years after the video and song were first released.
Tomorrow the movie “This Is It” based on rehearsal footage for the tour Michael Jackson was supposed to begin in July, comes out, and his first posthumous album, the movie soundtrack, is also out. Four months after his death, he’s one of the most active performers in the music business, and he’s up for five American Music Awards, too. When I heard the title for this behind-the-scenes look at the performer as he developed, created and rehearsed for his sold-out concerts, I thought “this is definitely NOT it”. Jackson has sold 5.9 million solo albums since his death – provoking sad flashbacks to 1983, when “Thriller” all but pulled the record business out of a recession. “Without a doubt, [Jackson’s death] helped the music industry,” says Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard’s charts director. Jackson is likely to be the best selling artist of 2009.