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Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' changed the world

It was the crowning achievement for the King of Pop -- and for pop in general.

Michael Jackson's 1982 album, "Thriller," is not only the greatest-selling album of all time -- more than 104 million copies sold -- but it also broke the color barrier on an infant MTV, introduced the world to his famous moonwalk (you can't do "Billie Jean" without that move), and brought such disparate superstars as Eddie Van Halen and Paul McCartney into the mix.

"Thriller" gave the rising star relevance that endures to this day. Jackson was nominated for 12 awards at the 1984 Grammys, and won eight, including album of the year and record of the year for "Beat It." Aside from the awards, those nine songs recorded with Quincy Jones made Jackson the total package, and it showcased his power as a songwriter, which is what it's all about in the first place, right?

Jackson penned the joyous, funky opener, "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' "; "The Girl is Mine," a sweet duet with McCartney; the rock-y "Beat It," complete with Van Halen's rock-guitar riffs; and "Billie Jean," with its cool "not my lover" refrain.

"Thriller" was the first album where the music and the videos were intertwined. It was with the videos for "Billie Jean," the song about groupie stalkers, and "Beat It," with its "West Side Story" choreography, that Jackson integrated the music channel. He did himself one better with the 14-minute "Thriller" video. The short, which boasted a Vincent Price cameo, is the most successful video of all time.

- Photos: Michael Jackson, year-by-year

- Complete coverage: Michael Jackson, 1958-2009


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