30 Years Later: The King of Pop In Context And How “Thriller” Changed Everything


The legendary best-selling album of all time, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, was released 30 years ago today.  It was a groundbreaking album that marked a defining achievement worthy of”King of Pop” status.  But do you know why?

Well, It’s a good thing you have a Narcissistic Anthropologist to find some context and share it with you.  😉

A one-gloved high-five goes out to ABC news for this great piece on how this album came to be and why it was such an influential work of musical genius that changed the face of pop culture forever.


Perhaps my favorite bit of context is the following snippet: about how Michael Jackson and MTV bridged the racial divide:

Thriller’ Broke Racial and Other Barriers

Mitchell said the video for “Beat It” helped break the color barrier on a nascent MTV. “At the time, Rick James and other black artists were trying to get on there and that’s when the racist tag got affixed to MTV because R&B videos just weren’t being played,” Mitchell said. ‘Beat It’ was something that MTV just couldn’t deny and certainly opened the door for Prince and others to be on MTV.”

“Thriller” also transcended musical boundaries, incorporating elements of pop, rock, R&B and more. “A key legacy of this album is that music is universal and can speak to people, whether you’re white, black, Asian or whatever,” Mitchell said. “Rock stations were playing ‘Beat It.’ Michael showed that music can be universal and incorporate all these elements, that you can be a mainstream artist and be creative.”

But definitely check out the full article / slide show.  I bet you learn something you didn’t know and will impress your friends and family with your Friday night cocktail conversation knowledge!  Just don’t try and moonwalk.  Trust me, you’re not as good at it as you think you are.


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