“Thriller” (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

Side one

1. “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”
2. “Baby Be Mine”
3. “The Girl Is Mine” (with Paul McCartney)
4. “Thriller” Temperton Jones 

Side two

1. “Beat It”
2. “Billie Jean”
3. “Human Nature”
4. “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”
5. “The Lady in My Life”

ALTERNATIVE VERSIONS*

*Worked by MJ during his lifetime. Covers and remixes by other artists are not included.

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (demo) : demo recorded at Michael’s Hayvenhurst home recording studio in 1978. Leaked online & released posthumously in 2009 (This Is It).

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ (12 extended mix) 6:30 (12″ version) released in 1983 as maxi singles.

Wanna Be Startin Somethin (2008) : Remix by Akon featuring new vocals by MJ recorded in November 2007 at the Palms Studios in Las Vegas and released on February 8, 2008 (Thriller 25 Special Edition)

The Girl Is Mine (tape recorder) : In 1981, MJ recorded the baseline of The Girl Is Mine on his tape recorder. This recording was played in public in December 1984 during a court hearing where musician Fred Sanford accused MJ of plagiarism. It remains unreleased.

The Girl Is Mine (demo) : solo demo recorded in 1982. It was released in 2008 on the third track of the maxi single “The Girl Is Mine (2008)”.

Starlight : Temperton’s first version of Thriller was titled “Starlight”, with the chorus lyric: “Give me some starlight / Starlight sun”. Recored in 1982 and remains unreleased.

Thriller (Video soundtrack version) : mix done in 1983 for the short film. Remains unreleased.

Vincent Price excerpt from Thriller Voice-Over Session” Temperton Jones 0:24 : released on Thriller 25 on February 8, 2008.

Baby Be Mine (demo) : demo recorded in 1982. Leaked online in 2008. Remains unreleased.

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.

Billie Jean (Pepsi version) : Recorded in 1983 with The Jacksons & used in Pepsi commercials in 1984. Released in a special limited 7″promo Pepsi Pepsi titled “The Choice Of A New Generation”. Never released on CD.

Beat It (demo) : release posthumously on October 26, 2009 (Michael Jackson’s This Is It album)

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

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

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

OUTTAKES FROM THE ALBUM RECORDING SESSIONS

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.

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

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

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

Carousel : Recorded in 1982, leaked in 2008. A shorter version was released in 2001 (Thriller Special Edition) but the longer version remains unreleased.

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.

OTHER SONGS FROM THIS ERA

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 and recorded in 1981 for a Richard Pryor movie. The song was re-recorded with new lyrics during the Dangerous sessions, then re-recorded again with fresh new vocals and new (unreleased) verse in late 2008 under the title “Best of Joy” (released in 2010 on the “Michael” compilation). Original demo from 1981 remains unreleased.

Thriller : singles and videos (1982-1984)

Concerts

No tour.

Previous album : E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Next album : Victory (1984)

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