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The Lasting Impact Of "Thriller" (Happy Birthday Michael Jackson)



Michael Jackson was born on this day in 1958. His legacy in pop music cannot be questioned. But there aren't a lot of folks that will immediately think of him as helping the horror genre through his music. But he did. In a big way.
I grew up witnessing the pop hysteria of Michael Jackson's rise. My dad had bought me a cassette tape of Michael Jackson's "Thriller,"  his blockbuster second solo album. I was already listening to "Off The Wall" as a baby, and "Thriller" pretty much catapulted him to superstardom. 1982 was the rise of the new guard of music heroes.
So with that album release came the epic music video of the title track, released a year later. Music videos were quick and cheap in the day and this film quality, short film length epic took the music video to a new level. It was my first modern horror film. It was my first time being exposed to the legend that was Vincent Price. And it was, no pun intended, thrilling.
I eventually found my way to the Universal Monsters, Hammer Studios, and plenty of other horror films of legend, but this was most likely (as far as my memory serves me) my first taste of horror. A 3D converted version of "Thriller" will end up being re-released in the theaters attached to Eli Roth's "The House with a Clock in It's Walls" and it's going to be super exciting to see it again this way.
Michael Jackson was a troubled figure. He was a once-in-a-lifetime talent who was thrust into the music business with the rest of his brothers. And once he hit fame at an early age he lost his childhood. And when "Thriller" made him a megastar, he couldn't walk in public again without being mobbed. Not really sure what that can do to your head...only Elvis could testify to that. So he more than likely didn't treat people or himself in a normal way. But never through all of his weirdness did I ever get a hint of him being a person who hurt others. He brought joy to millions and generations after are still experiencing the joy of his music.
My nostalgic goggles may be trying to put a positive spin on it, but I do deep down believed he was someone who emphasized love and I thank him for his legacy of music. Happy birthday Michael Jackson.





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