On this day back in 1983, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album popped into the #1 spot on the US charts. What a game changer this album was! The video for “Thriller” actually cost around half a million dollars to make, which, at the time, was the most expense video ever produced. Since MTV doesn’t pay for music videos, Jackson and director John Landis convinced MTV and Showtime to offer up $250,000 each for the rights to “The Making of ‘Thriller.” Budget problem solved!
Did you know the original working title for this album was “Starlight”? Hard to imagine!
Also, a quote from John Landis describing the premise of the video: “In adolescence, youngsters begin to grow hair in unexpected places and parts of their anatomy swell and grow,” director John Landis explained, regarding the role of werewolf metaphor in cinematic history. “Everyone experiences these physical transformations in their bodies and new, unfamiliar, sexual thoughts in their minds. No wonder we readily accept the concept of a literal metamorphosis.”
Choosing Vincent Price was brilliant. I can still hear that laugh to this day. According to Legacy.com, Price was described as being “startled by the headphones when he arrived at the studio, never having used them before. When he reluctantly put them on, he jumped out of his chair in surprise upon hearing the funky music track he was to speak over.” Price was paid $20,000 for his voice over. He had been offered a portion of the album’s profits, which he tuned down. Appearing on The Johnny Carson Show, Johnny had suggested that Price could have done a lot better if he had chosen album proceeds. He laughed amiably and said “how well I know!”
Have you heard the uncut version with Price’s “rap” in it? I will drop the video below. Good stuff!