Michael Jackson – “Thriller” – (1982)

“Thriller” is one of the biggest songs from the biggest album there is. I don’t even know where to start. So I guess I’ll start with what people associate it most with: the music video. It’s actually more of a short film, running over 13 minutes (for a song lasting less than six). Of course, there’s the jacket that Jackson wears in the video – that red and black – which was designed by the wife of the music video’s director: John Landis. It’s the most influential music video. The video was selected to be included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. The song (and video) both feature the spoken vocal track from Vincent Price (which is pretty weird if you think about it). I’ve seen this called a “novelty song” which I think is a bunch of crap – funk, disco, pop, okay. But novelty? Sure, it has a distinct Halloween feel but because so much time has elapsed since its release there’s no way to separate our (my) perceptions of the song as a stand-alone or as part of the video.

Anyway, title tracks don’t come better than this, and while “Billie Jean” topped our Top 100 Songs of the 80s list, this song (and everything associated with it) might well be the thing that word-association tests of “Michael Jackson” elicits most.