Pop Icon Returns With Re-issue of Historic “Thriller” Album

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Michael Jackson’s back. “Thriller,” the world’s top-selling album, which vaulted Jackson to superstar status 25 years ago, is about to be reissued as “Thriller 25.” The release is being supported with a flood of singles, a 40-episode “ThrillerCast” podcast, the Super Bowl launch of the “Thrillicious” Sobe Life Water ad campaign and the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Jackson at the NRJ Music Awards at Cannes among other events.

The original album was certified 27-times platinum, (Double Diamond in the United States. In 1984, Jackson received a record-breaking 12 Grammy nominations and went on to win eight, which still stands as the most Grammy Awards won by an individual in a single year. Seven of the awards were for “Thriller.”

The Guinness World Records claims Jackson is among the most highly acclaimed and influential artists in pop culture. Jackson, of course, has been mired in controversy in recent years that include allegations of child molestation and often bizarre behavior. But if a reissue of one of the most successful album of all time and the huge multi-media campaign surrounding it can’t restart his career, nothing will.

The album will go on sale Feb. 12 in this country and will be released simultaneously around the world the same week. Seven bonus tracks have been added, including new collaborations with {tag Akon}, {tag Fergie}, {tag will.i.am} and a {tag Kanye West} remix of "Billie Jean 2008." The Michael Jackson Thriller 25th anniversary celebration runs throughout 2008 with a global media and marketing blitz featuring television, radio and online events around the world and the major re-launch of Jackson’s official website. You can check it out here.

Super Bowl Media Kickoff

The media campaign kicked off with the premiere of "{tag Thrillicious}," Pepsi’s {tag Sobe} Life Water spot starring supermodel Naomi Campbell and a cast of animated lizards. It featured a series of dance moves to the tune of Jackson’s "Thriller." The first single from "{tag Thriller 25}," "Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ 2008" featuring Akon, has already been released to radio and is getting spins on pop, rhythm and urban stations across the country. The single has been the No. 1 “On Demand” song online for all Clear Channel Radio station Web sites since its release Jan. 18, according to the Jackson camp.

On the comeback trail, Jackson was recently honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the prestigious {tag NRJ} Music Awards ceremony at a music industry conference in Cannes, France. Following a video tribute, Jackson delivered a personal message via satellite to NRJ attendees and a television audience of more than 7 million viewers. A recent "Thriller 25" promotion in London featured professional dancers re-enacting the iconic zombie choreography on the London Underground, Trafalgar Square and other unusual locations. A competition has been launched for UK Michael fans to submit their own versions of the "Thriller" dance to YouTube.

"Thrillercast," a groundbreaking 40-episode podcast event, launches Feb 12 and will be updated weekly throughout the year. The series features icons of music, screen and culture including hip-hop legend Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, superstars Nick Cannon and {tag Chris Brown}, choreographers Shane Sparks and Mia Michaels from the hit show "So You Think You Can Dance," and dozens of other special guests. Each episode will explore their personal experiences with “Thriller” and its influence on them, both personally and professionally. "Thrillercast" will be available for free through iTunes, Zune, and all major podcast providers, as well as directly through Jackson’s Web site.

Mix of New and Old

“Thriller 25” includes all nine of “Thriller’s” original performances as well as seven bonus tracks, including five new homages featuring performers in contemporary pop and soul music. "Thriller 25’s" first single, "Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ 2008," produced by Jackson and Akon, is an all-new version of "Thriller’s" opening cut. It showcases newly recorded 2008 vocals by Jackson and Akon. Another track, "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) 2008," by Jackson with will.i.am is an original, unreleased pre-album demo remixed by Jackson and will.i.am with newly added vocals and production from will.i.am.

"The Girl Is Mine 2008" is another Jackson/ will.i.am collaboration based on a demo predating Jackson’s duet with ex-Beatle Paul McCartney. This is a previously unreleased track newly produced and mixed by Jackson and will.i.am, featuring a will.i.am rap. "The Girl Is Mine 2008" is the album’s first single and is already charting in Brazil, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland, the UK and Japan, where it at No. 5 on the Top 10.

"Billie Jean 2008" features the original tracks of Jackson’s signature hit, newly remixed by Kanye West. "Beat It 2008" is both a remix and a new track featuring Jackson’s vocals and instrumental tracks from the Thriller original coupled with seductive new vocals by Fergie with new band tracks and production by Jackson and will.i.am.

”Thriller 25” closes with "For All Time," a nascent classic recorded by Jackson during the original Thriller sessions in 1982 but never completed or released until now. Jackson has added new vocals and band tracks to his original recording. Mick Guzawski mixed and Jackson produced "For All Time," which “provides a sublime and fitting close to this new, definitive edition of Thriller, a spokesman says.

As an added bonus for fans, “Thriller 25” includes a DVD featuring Jackson’s groundbreaking music videos from the original album; ("Thriller," "Beat It," and "Billie Jean") and the artist’s Emmy-nominated breakout performance of "Billie Jean" from the legendary "Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever" television special (broadcast on NBC on May 16, 1983).

The Thriller 25 CD/DVD set will be available in three collectible editions: a standard version with the album’s original cover art; a standard version with a new "Zombie" cover; and a deluxe edition in a hard-bound casebook format with a 48-page booklet. Both standard versions contain the CD and bonus DVD in a brilliant box with a rainbow holographic O-card and a 20- page booklet. Thriller 25 will also be available as a Platinum MusicPass Album Card, a digital album card that consumers can use to download “Thriller 25, and special bonus content in the form of high-quality MP3 files.

Originally released in the United States, Nov 30, 1982, the Epic Records production was Jackson’s sixth solo album and second with producer Quincy Jones. It rocketed the former Jackson 5 child-star and lead singer to international superstardom. Jackson introduced the "robot" and the "moonwalk" and revolutionized mainstream pop. The original Thriller spent an astounding 80 consecutive weeks in the American Top 10, 37 of those at No. 1.Thriller also made history as the first and only record to be America’s top- selling album two years running (1983 and 1984).

 Source:  http://www.theimproper.com/Template_Article.aspx?IssueId=3&ArticleId=1216

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