When Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” came out in Nov 1982, there had never been a Halloween song like it. The catalog of creepy party songs up to that point consisted of much lighter tunes like “Monster Mash” , “The Addams Family” and “Ghostbusters”. These are all fun to be sure but let’s face it, no spooky songs released prior to 1982 ever possessed the funky, kinetic and relentless sparse bass and drum tracks that drive the epic groove of “THRILLER”! With the Melody being delivered by the King of Pop, haunting harmonies laid down by my friend and keyboard colleague, Greg Phillinganes and a crew of LA’s top studio players, “THRILLER’ emerged as the title track of the second-best-selling album in the USA exceeding an astounding 33 million in sales!
If you are a reader of my blogs, I’m always talking about Melody, Harmony and Rhythm as the essential elements to get to your “scOre” – your desired outcome…however, in this particular instance, especially as I am writing these very words on the eve of Halloween, DISSONANCE, along with Dastardly DISRUPTION, have to take front and center and needed to find it’s KING. The call went out and with thanks to Peggy Lipton – Quincy Jones’ wife at the time – who knew the great “master of horror”, Vincent Price – he answered the call with a haunting YES.
He didn’t just narrate it he wrote the lyrics:
“Darkness falls across the land, The midnite hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood, To terrorize yawls neighbourhood
And whosoever shall be found, Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell, And rot inside a corpses shell
The demons squeal in sheer delight, It’s you they spy, so plump, so right
For although the groove is hard to beat, It’s still you stand with frozen feet
You try to run, you try to scream, But no more sun you’ll ever see
For evil reached from the crypt, To crush you in it’s icy grip
The foulest stench is in the air, The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzy ghouls from every tomb, Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive, Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist, The evil of the thriller…… Can you dig it?”
To this day, a fresh listen of this incredible track will make you jump out of your seat – cause you’re either creeped out or simply because you gotta dance….Fun Fact: “Sol to Soul” – my 2nd solo release, was also recorded at the same studio as “Thriller” – Westlake Studios in LA.