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Music World Celebrates 35th Anniversary of Thriller Music Video

I was remised by not doing an article on Friday for the 36 years of Thriller the album, but yours truly Venom won’t pass up the monumental date today holds in the music and entertainment world. Today marks the 35th anniversary of one of the most important accomplishments in music history. Michael Jackson forever transformed the industry with his jaw dropping short film “Thriller”.  In 1982, the album of the same name dropped with visuals from the single “Billie Jean” leading the way for what would become the greatest selling album of all-time.  

His plan was to have that record and he accomplished that by releasing on December 2, 1983 the groundbreaking “Thriller” music video which was obviously the most expensive music video ever at that point.

I spoke on the production behind Thriller in the topic about Michael Jackson vs Prince. The album on November 30th turned 36 years old, so it is only fitting the music industry celebrates its biggest music video release. 

The 3D version of the music video and restored documentary Making Michael Jackson’s Thriller, directed by Jerry Kramer, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2017. This September, it became the first music video released in IMAX 3D. The song re-entered the Hot 100 on Nov. 10, 2018 at No. 31, the highest it has been since April 7, 1984.

The manager of Michael Jackson during this time period and the current MJ estate executor John Branca gives details in an interview with BillBoard about how the process came about for this huge project.

At the time, most music videos cost about $50,000 [to make], and Michael and John Landis had a budget of $1.2 [million] for this project, and the record company refused to pay for it, for good reason [laughs]. So I said to Michael, “You know, it’s a million two?” and he basically said, “Branca, figure it out.” So I came up with the idea for a “making of,” a long-form, 60-minute piece. It was the first time MTV ever paid for a video, and Showtime paid for it, their sister station, and then we put it out with Vestron [Video] and we actually ended up making a profit.

John Branca – Billboard

The director John Landis also explained the trepidation of the record company to help fund this project.

“[The album has] been No. 1 for over a year. We made ‘Billie Jean’ and ‘Beat It,’ with [directors] Steve Barron and Bob Giraldi [respectively] — hugely influential important videos, which cost very little, and you’re coming to us? You already have the most successful album of all time, and now you want to do this vanity video so you can turn him into a monster? Go f–k yourselves,” was essentially what they said it to me. They didn’t say it to Michael, but that was the same thing. So we had to figure out a way to make it, which is why Making Michael Jackson’s Thriller was done, so we’d have an hour and we could sell the hour. Do you know what happened when the video “Thriller” came out on TV? The No. 1 selling album in the world, already out for a year, tripled its sales. So everybody jumped on the bandwagon.

John Landis – Billboard

This has been another article by The Venom!