ARTIST: Michael Jackson
How good is Thriller? Put it on right now and you’ll be amazed at how easily the most frightening public image of the late 20th century melts away. Michael Jackson was 24 when he released what was to become the best-selling album of all-time (until it was eclipsed in the late 90s by The Eagles Greatest Hits, 1971-1975) and there’s no whining about celebrity, no messiah complex, just nine immensely catchy tracks, seven of which went Top 10. The Quincy Jones-produced hooks remain awe-inspiring, and while Jackson had few ambitions beyond global domination, it’s worth noting that “The Girl is Mine” made interracial love pop and Eddie Van Halen’s “Beat It” guitar solo bridged arena rock and soul four years before Run DMC met Aerosmith.