Michael again recorded and toured with the Jacksons, but his
next album, Thriller, produced by Quincy Jones in 1982 became
a musical phenomenon.
Jackson brought in Paul McCartney for a duet, guitarist Eddie Van
Halen for a jaw-dropping solo, and Vincent Price for a creepy recitation.
It was no surprise that Thriller was a hit. In fact it was the
biggest-selling album of all time, moving 20 million copies in
the U.S. alone and including seven Top Ten hits. The video of "Thriller" was
selected as the best video of all time and featured Jackson leading
a dance troupe of rotting zombies, with loads of horror-film makeup
and effects. MTV played the clips to death, garnering massive publicity
for Jackson and droves of viewers for the then 'new' cable network.
Jackson sealed his own phenomenon by debuting his signature "moonwalk" dance
step on May 16,1983 on Motown's televised 25th anniversary special;
though he didn't invent the moonwalk (as he himself was quick to
point out), it became as much of a Jackson signature as his vocal
hiccups or single white-sequined glove.
At the end of 1983, Michael was again on top of the singles charts,
this time as part of a second duet with McCartney, "Say Say
In 1984, Jackson re-joined his brothers one last time for the album
Victory, whose supporting tour was one of the biggest (and priciest)
of the year. The following year, he and Lionel Richie co-wrote
the anthemic "We Are the World" for the all-star famine-relief
effort USA for Africa; it became one of the fastest-selling singles