Michael Jackson’s 40th Anniversary ‘Thriller’ Reissue Features Rarities, Demos

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

A new reissue of Michael Jackson’s groundbreaking album, Thriller, hit shelves today (Nov. 18). The two-disc project features rarities, demos and behind-the-scenes of Jackson at work.

Thriller 40 is available via Sony Music and the Estate of the legendary songwriter and performer. The second disc includes never-released tracks, which were worked on by Jackson.

Originally released on Nov. 30, 1982, and produced by Quincy Jones—who also worked on Jackson’s solo debut Off the Wall in 1979—Thriller earned Jackson eight Grammy Awards. The album spent 37 non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 from February 26, 1983, to April 14, 1984, and more than 500 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart. 

Selling 100 million copies since its release in 1982, Thriller became the best-selling album of all time.

Thriller also produced seven of Jackson’s biggest hits, including “The Girl Is Mine,” “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” and the title track “Thriller.”

Hitting a number of new records, the title track also boasted one of the most expensively made music videos at the time with a $1 million budget. Running more than 13-minutes, the video doubled the sales of the album upon its release and blew up the airwaves of the then two-year-old MTV when it premiered on December 2, 1983.

A pop culture phenomenon, “Thriller” shifted how a music video was made. Jackson donned a now-iconic red leather jacket, designed by director John Landis’ wife Deborah Nadoolman who already worked as a costume designer on Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. The video inspired more scripted, choreographed videoswith the origination of the “zombie dance,” created by Jackson and choreographer Michael Petersin its aftermath.

Check out the Thriller 40 track list below.

Disc 1: Thriller

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1.“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”Michael JacksonQuincy Jones, Michael Jackson6:02
2.“Baby Be Mine”Rod TempertonJones4:20
3.“The Girl Is Mine” (with Paul McCartney)JacksonJones, Jackson3:42
4.“Thriller”TempertonJones5:57
5.“Beat It”JacksonJones, Jackson4:18
6.“Billie Jean”JacksonJones, Jackson4:54
7.“Human Nature”Steve Porcaro, John BettisJones4:06
8.“P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”James Ingram, JonesJones3:59
9.“The Lady in My Life”TempertonJones4:59
Total length:42:16

Disc 2: Bonus Material

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1.“Starlight”TempertonJones5:04
2.“Got the Hots” (Demo)TempertonJackson, Jones4:25
3.“Who Do You Know” (Demo)JacksonJackson5:23
4.“Carousel”Michael Sembello, Don FreemanJones3:39
5.“Behind the Mask” (Mike’s Mix, Demo)Jackson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Chris MosdellJackson5:01
6.“Can’t Get Outta the Rain”Jackson, JonesJackson, Jones4:06
7.“The Toy” (Demo)JacksonJackson3:04
8.“Sunset Driver” (Demo)JacksonJackson, Jones4:03
9.“What a Lovely Way to Go” (Demo)JacksonJackson3:55
10.“She’s Trouble” (Demo)Billy Livsey, Terry Britten, Sue ShifrinJackson, Jones4:13
Total length:42:53

Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks (Digital Only)

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
20.“Billie Jean” (Home Demo from 1981)JacksonJackson2:20
21.“Billie Jean” (Long Version)JacksonJones, Jackson6:20
22.“Billie Jean 2008” (Kanye West Mix)JacksonJackson, Kanye West, Anthony Kilhoffer4:35
23.“Beat It” (Demo)JacksonJackson2:03
24.“Beat It 2008” (with Fergie)JacksonJackson, will.i.am4:11
25.“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” (Demo)JacksonJackson5:43
26.“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” (Tommy D’s Main Mix)JacksonJackson, Jones, Tommy D7:40
27.“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ 2008” (with Akon)Jackson, Aliaune Thiam, Giorgio TuinfortJackson, Akon, Tuinfort4:14
28.“Human Nature” (7″ Remix)PorcaroBettisJones3:45
29.“P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” (Demo Version)Jackson, Greg PhillinganesJackson3:46
30.“P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008” (with will.i.am)Jackson, William Adams, Keith HarrisJackson, will.i.am4:21
31.“The Girl Is Mine 2008” (with will.i.am)Jackson, Adams, HarrisJackson, will.i.am3:10
32.“Thriller” (7″ Special Edit)TempertonJones4:37
33.“Thriller” (Def Thriller Mix)TempertonJones, David Morales, Frankie Knuckles7:22
34.“Thriller Megamix”Jackson, Temperton, Jones, IngramJackson, Jones, Jason Nevins9:14
Total length:158:30

Photo: Epic Records

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