“Thriller” sessions (1981-1982)

Thriller

Recording sessions :  Demos recorded in 1981-1982 at Hayvenhurst. Main studio sessions from April 14 – November 8, 1982

Studios :  Hayvenhurst home studios, Westlake, Los Angeles, California

Label : CBS Epic Records

Release date : November 30, 1982

Peak on Billboard 200 : 1

Original track listing 

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’
Baby Be Mine
The Girl Is Mine (with Paul McCartney)
Thriller
Beat It
Billie Jean
Human Nature

P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
The Lady in My Life

Demos/Outtakes/unreleased tracks from the album’ sessions

Billie Jean (demo 1) : Recorded in 1981 & released in 2001 (Thriller Special Edition)

Billie Jean (demo 2) : Recorded in 1982 & leaked online. Remains unreleased

Billie Jean (demo 3) : Recorded in 1982 and used in the “This Is It’ movie in 2009. The full demo leaked in 2018 but remains unreleased.

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (demo) : Recorded in 1982, leaked online & released in 2009 (This Is It)

Beat It (demo) : Recorded in 1982 & released in 2009 (This Is It)

The Girl Is Mine (solo demo) : Recorded in 1982, leaked in 1994 & released in 2008 (The Girl Is Mine 2008 single)

The Lady In My Life (demo with unreleased lyrics) : Recorded in 1982 & leaked in 2008. Remains unreleased.

Baby Be Mine (demo) : Recorded in 1982 & leaked in 2008. Remains unreleased.

Human Nature (demo) : Recorded in 1982 & leaked in 2021. Remains unreleased.

Starlight (demo version of Thriller) : Written by Rod Temperton. Recorded in 1982 & leaked in 2008. Referred to by MJ as “Starlight Sun” during his 1993 deposition. Remains unreleased.

Pretty Young Thing/PYT (demo) : Recorded in 1982 & released in 2004 (The Ultimate Collection Box Set).

Sunset Driver (demo) : Recorded in 1982 & released in 2004 (The Ultimate Collection Box Set).

Got The Hots : Recorded in 1982 & released in 2008 (bonus track on Thriller 25 Japonese Edition)

Slapstick (demo version of Hot Street) : Written by Rod Temperton. Recorded in 1982 & leaked in 2008. Remains unreleased.

Hot Street (demo) : Recorded in 1982 & leaked in 2008. Remains unreleased.

Trouble (demo 1) : Recorded in 1982 & leaked in 2008. Remains unreleased.

Trouble (demo 2) : Recorded in 1982 & leaked in 2008. Remains unreleased.

Nightline (demo) : Recorded in 1982 & leaked in 2008. Remains unreleased.

Carousel/Circus Girl : Recorded in 1982, leaked in 2008 & released in 2001 (Thriller Special Edition).

Behind The Mask : Recorded in 1982 & released in 2010 (Michael) as a remix. Original demo remains unreleased.

Rolling the Dice : Written by Rod Temperton. MJ worked on the song with Temperton and Quincy Jones during the Thriller recording sessions. Remains unreleased.

Set It On Out : Written by Michael Jackson and recorded in 1982. Remains unreleased.

Stand Tall : Written by Michael Jackson in 1982. Song registered with the United States Copyright Office. Remains unreleased.

Who Do You Know : Written by Michael Jackson in 1981. Song cited by MJ in his 1993 deposition. Remains unreleased.

Others songs from this era :

State Of Shock (demo with Freddie Mercury) : Recorded in 1982 & leaked in 2002. Remains unreleased.

There Must Be More To Life Than This (demo with Freddie Mercury) : Recorded in 1982 & leaked in 2002. A remixed version was released in 2014 (Queen Forever Deluxe Edition). Original demo remains unreleased.

Victory (demo) : One of three songs MJ worked on with Queen’s Freddie Mercury in 1982. The foundation of the track was laid with Mercury’s manager Peter Freestone banging on the toilet door in perfect time for 5 minutes as there were no instruments or musicians around at Hayvenhurst. Remains unreleased.

State Of Independance : The song was recorded and released in spring of 1982. Donna Summer covered “State of Independence” on her 1982 album Donna Summer produced by Quincy Jones. Summer’s version is notable for its all-star choir which included Lionel Richie, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Brenda Russell, Christopher Cross, Dyan Cannon, James Ingram, Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, and Stevie Wonder.

Muscles : The song was written and produced by Michael Jackson, and performed by American singer Diana Ross. It was released as the first single on September 17, 1982 by RCA from Ross’s Gold-certified album Silk Electric.

Someone In The Dark : Recorded in 1982 & released in 1982 (ET Storybook) and in 2001 (Thriller Special Edition).

Say Say Say : recorded in May 1981 with Paul McCartney and released in October 1983 on Paul’s solo album “Pipes of Peace”

The Man : recorded in May 1981 with Paul McCartney and released in October 1983 on Paul’s solo album “Pipes of Peace”

Nymphette Lover : Written by Michael Jackson. Songs registered with the United States Copyright Office. Remains unreleased.

MJ Melody : Written by Michael Jackson in 1982. Song registered with the United States Copyright Office. Remains unreleased.

The Toy : Written by Michael Jackson in 1981 for a Richard Pryor movie. Remains unreleased.

Previous era : Triumph sessions (1980)

Next era : Victory sessions (1983-1984)

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