Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Michael Jackson: Thriller

I take a lot of pride in the fact that I go out of my way to avoid “popular” music, but I also have to admit that sometimes an album or artist is popular because they are simply superior. Such is the case with Michael Jackson’s 1982 masterpiece, Thriller.

That album plays out like a veritable greatest hits collection and it completely saturated the musical landscape for the next couple of years after its release.

Now I will admit it gains entry onto my list for a couple of sentimental reasons, too. Eddie Van Halen’s iconic guitar solo on Beat It, and Vincent Price’s spooky cameo voice-over in Thriller (not to mention the dancing zombies in the video) are near and dear to my heart. Beyond that, Billie Jean is a nearly flawless pop song that is seemingly timeless.

Jackson’s duet with Paul McCartney on The Girl Is Mine is an amazing pairing of two musical giants. Quincy Jones provided stellar production and musical savvy, and all the background musicians and vocalists were all ingredients in the big picture, too.

Thriller won tons of awards and sold astronomical amounts of albums, but most importantly, it tore down racial barriers in pop music and united music lovers worldwide.

As a child I was a fan of Michael Jackson and his brothers in the Jackson 5. As an adult I witnessed the toll his enormous success ultimately cost him.

Thriller remains, and no matter what else happened in Michael Jackson’s life, he created something that has touched countless lives and will live on for generations.

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