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80s Michael Jackson

Updated on September 9, 2014

Just like most kids of the 80s I loved pop music. Perhaps unlike most kids of the 80s, I used to love singing to my cassette tapes in my living room, using our upright vacuum as a microphone. I'm sure I was loud, I'm not sure how well I sang, but I had the moves. Some of my favorite performers at the time were Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, and, of course, Michael Jackson.

This photo, the cover of his Thriller album, is the way I will always remember Michael.


Thriller was my first introduction to Michael Jackson. When the album first came out -November 30, 1982- I was 6 years old and in the first grade. That seems so young but I remember the songs and the videos so clearly.

By the time the video for Thriller came out I was 7. I was so scared of it that I used to run out of the room until it was over. I loved the song though. One of my best friends and I made a whole dance number with props and costumes and performed it at camp that summer.

Then, remember the Weird Al parody of Beat It? Eat It? That was in 1984. After that another friend and I wrote a parody of our own called Clean It. I still remember our lyrics, and playing along on our super cool keyboards. We got her little sister to bang on a bucket as a drum for one of our recordings.

From it's 9 tracks that album had 7 singles on the radio. 7. And I sang along to each one. I still do.


Thriller, Original Track List

1. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin

2. Baby Be Mine

3. The Girl Is Mine (with Paul McCartney)

4. Thriller (featuring Vincent Price)

5. Beat It

6. Billie Jean

7. Human Nature

8. P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)

9. The Lady in My Life


26th Annual Grammy Awards

The 1984 Grammy Awards was a banner night for Michael. 43.8 million viewers watched as he took home eight awards in six categories.

  • Record of the Year - Beat It
  • Album of the Year - Thriller
  • Best Pop Vocal Performance - Thriller
  • Best R&B Vocal Performance - Billie Jean
  • Best R&B Song - Billie Jean
  • Best Rock Vocal Performance - Beat It

  • Producer of the Year
  • Best Recording for Children - E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

And the Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical went to engineer Bruce Swedien for Thriller.

The following year Michael Jackson won Best Video Album for Making Michael Jackson's Thriller.


I'm sad for those who are too young to remember 80s Michael Jackson. I'm thankful I can remember a time before the plastic surgeries, bizarre marriages, odd behavior, and alleged abuse scandals. Michael was so very talented. And really adorable back then. I thought he was so cute. Before my Christian Slater obsession I suppose MJ was my crush. I had his picture on my bedroom mirror for years.


When MTV Played Videos

Billie Jean was played on MTV for the first time on March 10, 1983.

Beat It had it's MTV premiere on March 31, 1983.

Thriller, MTV's first world premiere video, was released December 2, 1983.

25th anniversary edition.
Two vinyl LPs with 15 tracks including 5 previously unreleased versions.

Run Time: 88 minutes

25th anniversary edition
1 picture disc with 10 tracks.


I still have my Thriller tape, the same one from my elementary school days. And the photo below is proof (from February 1987 according to the back) that I used to have his photo on my bedroom mirror. ;)

Please Share Your 80s Michael Jackson Memories Too

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    • serendipity831 profile image

      Drake McSherry 4 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      Will always love Michael. Although "Bad" is actually my favorite CD of his, "Thriller" is obviously brilliant. Enjoyed the lens.

    • profile image

      sherioz 4 years ago

      Michael Jackson grew on me as I grew older - and I mean older adult. I like his music more now than I ever did.