Webster

The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Monday Music "Thriller"

Well I tried to get this out on Monday but I was overcome by event....Like Work and wanting to sleep.   I will post some pithy comments tomorrow...

    I remembered when Thriller came out, the Album...It was a good album, the songs "Billy Jean" and "Beat it" were huge smashes in their own right, but "Thriller" totally eclipsed the other video's and it became the standard for Music video's.  I remember being in High School and we all would talk about the new music video coming out on MTV

   There was a huge hype and buildup for this song and video, after it exploded on the airwaves, MTV would schedule subsequent screenings and people would run home to catch the video.  It was that huge...
     I liked Michael Jackson, before he got strange.  He was a hugely talented musician and artist whose influence is still felt today.  I have the album on vinyl, it is still one of my favorite albums.  I never picked up the CD version. 

"Thriller" is a song recorded by American recording artist Michael Jackson, composed by Rod Temperton, and produced by Quincy Jones. It is the seventh and final single from his sixth studio album of the same name. It was released on November 12, 1983 in most countries and January 23, 1984 in the United States by Epic Records. The song has appeared on multiple greatest hits compilation albums from Jackson, including HIStory (1995), Number Ones (2003), The Essential Michael Jackson (2005), and Michael Jackson's This Is It (2009) and it was remixed to the Immortal album in 2011. The song, which has a voice-over from actor Vincent Price had originally been titled "Starlight".
The song's instruments include a bassline and synthesizer. In the song, sound effects such as a creaking door, thunder, feet walking on wooden planks, winds and howling dogs can be heard, and the lyrics contain frightening themes and elements. "Thriller" received positive reviews from critics and became Jackson's seventh top-ten single on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart from the album, while reaching the top of the charts in France and Belgium and the top ten in many other countries.
"Thriller" was adapted by American Werewolf In London director John Landis into a highly successful music video, known independently as Michael Jackson's Thriller. At fourteen minutes the video is substantially longer than the song, which ties together a narrative featuring Jackson and actress Ola Ray in a setting heavily inspired by horror films of the 1950s. In the video's most iconic scene, Jackson leads other actors costumed as zombies in a choreographed dance routine. Though it garnered some criticism for its occult theme and violent imagery, the video was immediately popular and received high critical acclaim, being nominated for six MTV Video Music Awards in 1984 and winning three. In 2009 it was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, the first music video ever selected. Although the song itself was a huge success commercially, the video outshone its popularity.


"Thriller" was written by Rod Temperton, and produced by Quincy Jones. "Thriller" was originally titled "Starlight",contrary to other reports of the title "Starlight Love". While the song was titled "Starlight", the song's hook lyrics were "Starlight! Starlight sun...", but after the song was changed to "Thriller" the hook was rewritten to "Thriller! In the night...". Temperton commented,
Originally, when I did my Thriller demo, I called it Starlight. Quincy said to me, 'You managed to come up with a title for the last album, see what you can do for this album.' I said, 'Oh great,' so I went back to the hotel, wrote two or three hundred titles, and came up with the title 'Midnight Man'. The next morning, I woke up, and I just said this word... Something in my head just said, this is the title. You could visualise it on the top of the Billboard charts. You could see the merchandising for this one word, how it jumped off the page as 'Thriller'.
While Temperton was writing "Thriller" he stated that he'd "always envisioned" a "talking section at the end" on the song, but did not really know what "to do with it", until deciding "to have somebody, a famous voice, in the horror genre, to do this vocal." Jones' then-wife, Peggy Lipton, who knew Vincent Price, suggested Price for the vocal part, which Price agreed to do.



    Vincent Price
"Thriller", along with other songs from Thriller, was recorded by Jackson over the course of eight weeks, in 1982. Jackson recorded the song at Westlake Recording Studios on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Bruce Swedien, the song's engineer, said of the song being recorded,
When we started 'Thriller', the first day at Westlake, we were all there and Quincy [Jones, the producer] walked in followed by me and Michael and Rod Temperton and some of the other people. Quincy turned to us and he said, 'OK guys, we're here to save the recording industry.' Now that's a pretty big responsibility – but he meant it. And that's why those albums, and especially 'Thriller', sound so incredible. The basic thing is, everybody who was involved gave 150 percent … Quincy's like a director of a movie and I'm like a director of photography, and it's Quincy's job to cast [it]. Quincy can find the people and he gives us the inspiration to do what we do.
Swedien and Jones stated that Vincent Price recorded his introduction and voice-over rap for the song in two takes; Jones, acknowledging that doing a voice-over for a song is "difficult", praised Price and described his recording takes as being "fabulous". Swedien said of Jackson recording the song, that, "I tried all sorts of things with Michael – for instance, he would sing the main vocal part and we'd double it one time and then I'd ask him to step away from the mic and do it a third time and that really changed the acoustics in the room so it gave Michael's vocals a unique character … We recorded some of those background vocals in the shower stall at Westlake."
Throughout the song, sound effects such as a creaking door, thunder, feet walking on wooden planks, winds and howling dogs can be heard. Bruce Cannon, a sound effects editor for "Thriller", said that, "Things like the lightning may have come from old Hollywood movies – we'll never know which movies – but the best sound-effects editors do go out in the desert and find a coyote, so I have a feeling that was a real howl."
The backing track, especially the bassline, has certain similarities to the 1981 number-one R&B hit "Give It to Me Baby" by Rick James. The bass part was made from two modified Minimoogs playing in unison.



Quincy Jones    
"Thriller" received high acclaim reviews from contemporary music critics. Ashley Lasimone, of AOL's Spinner.com, noted that "Thriller" "became a signature for Jackson" and described "the groove of its bassline, paired with Michael's killer vocals and sleek moves" as having had "produced a frighteningly great single."Jon Pareles, of The New York Times, noted that Thrillers tracks, "Billie Jean", "Beat It", "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and "the movie in the song 'Thriller'", were the songs, unlike the "fluff" "P.Y.T.", that were "the hits that made Thriller a world-beater; along with Mr. Jackson's stage and video presence, listeners must have identified with his willingness to admit terror."
Ann Powers, of the Los Angeles Times, described "Thriller" as being a song that was "adequately groovy" with a "funked-out beat" with lyrics that are "seemingly lifted from some little kid's 'scary storybook'". After Jackson's death, AOL's Radio Blog released a list, titled "10 Best Michael Jackson Songs", which placed "Thriller" at number one. In 2009 Melissa Cabrera, of AOL Radio Blogs, listed "Thriller" as being the fourth best song on their "Top 100 '80s Songs" list.Eliot Glazer, AOL's Radio Blogs, placed "Thriller" at number one on a list titled "Top 1984 Songs". "Thriller" was also listed at number two on the "10 Best Halloween Songs" and "10 Best Party Songs" lists by AOLs Radio Blog, and at number one on "The Top 10 Halloween Songs" list by Billboard.


    
The music video, directed by John Landis, was filmed in various locations in New York and Los Angeles. Contrary to reports of $800,000 to $1 million production budgets, Landis stated that the music video was made for $500,000. Jackson said of making the music video, in an interview that aired on December 11, 1999, for MTV's 100 Greatest Videos Ever Made:
My idea was to make this short film with conversation ... I like having a beginning and a middle and an ending, which would follow a story. I'm very much involved in complete making and creating of the piece. It has to be, you know, my soul. Usually, you know, it's an interpretation of the music. [...] It was a delicate thing to work on because I remember my original approach was, 'How do you make zombies and monsters dance without it being comical?' So I said, 'We have to do just the right kind of movement so it doesn't become something that you laugh at.' But it just has to take it to another level. So I got in a room with [choreographer] Michael Peters, and he and I together kind of imagined how these zombies move by making faces in the mirror. I used to come to rehearsal sometimes with monster makeup on, and I loved doing that. So he and I collaborated and we both choreographed the piece and I thought it should start like that kind of thing and go into this jazzy kind of step, you know. Kind of gruesome things like that, not too much ballet or whatever.



The music video of the song also included on the video albums: Video Greatest Hits - HIStory, HIStory on Film, Volume II, Number Ones, on the bonus DVD of Thriller 25 and Michael Jackson's Vision.
Following the release of the music video, a 45-minute documentary was released that provided candid glimpses behind the scenes of the music video's production.Entitled Making Michael Jackson's Thriller, it, like the music video, was shown heavily on MTV for a time and was the top-selling home-video release of all time at one point, with over nine million copies sold. MTV paid $250,000 for the exclusive rights to show the documentary; Showtime paid $300,000 for pay-cable rights; and Vestron Video reportedly paid $500,000 to market the cassette, in a profit participation agreement.

    
Set in the 1950s, Michael and his unnamed date (Ola Ray) run out of gas near a dark wooded area. They walk off into the forest, and Michael asks her if she would be his "girl"; she accepts and he gives her a ring. He warns her, however, that he is "different". A full moon appears, and Michael begins convulsing in agony, transforming into a werewolf. His date runs away in terror, but the werewolf catches up to her, knocking her down and begins lunging at her with his claws. The scene then cuts to a modern-day movie theater where Michael and his date, along with a repulsed audience, are actually watching the scene unfold in a movie called Thriller.
Michael's date leaves the theater as Michael hands his popcorn to a stranger, catches up to her, and assures her that "It's only a movie". Some debate follows as to whether or not she was scared by the movie. They then walk down a foggy road as Michael teases her by singing the verses of "Thriller". They pass a nearby graveyard, in which zombies begin to rise out of their caskets as Vincent Price performs his soliloquy. The zombies corner Michael and his date threateningly, and suddenly, Michael becomes a zombie himself. The zombies then break into an elaborate song and dance number, followed by the main chorus of "Thriller" (during which Michael was reverted to human form), frightening his date to the point where she runs for cover.
Michael (turned back into a zombie) and his fellow corpses then back the frightened girl into the corner of a nearby abandoned house. Michael then reaches for his date's throat as she lets out a bloodcurdling scream, only to awake and realize it was all a dream. Michael then offers to take her home, and she happily obliges. As they walk out of the house, Michael eerily looks at the camera, thus revealing his yellow werewolf eyes, as we hear Vincent Price's haunting laugh


     The music video was listed as the "Greatest Video" on VH1's "VH1: 100 Greatest Videos" in 2001.MTV listed the music video as being the "Greatest Music Video Ever Made" on their list, "MTV: 100 Greatest Music Videos Ever Made" in 1999. In July 2011, the music video was named one of "The 30 All-TIME Best Music Videos" by TIME magazine.













3 comments:

  1. What was with Jackson's snake eyes anyway?

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  2. Vincent Price was the creepiest man in Hollywood. I remember when Thriller came out. Had to have the album. At the time, I loved it. I still like it because it brings back memories of high school, but I am not a fan of Michael Jackson. I can't discount his musical talents, however. He was just a very disturbed individual.

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  3. Great musician, the rest... Not so much...

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