What's shakin' fools?
Recently, I dusted off my vinyl copy of "Thriller" (if I have to tell you who released that album, there is no hope for society) and was pretty amazed at what I saw in the track list. Tracks 4,5 and 6 (respectively) are as follows:
Is it just me or is that sequence extremely strong and probably unprecedented outside of any artist's greatest hits package? Let's break it down for a second, strictly on a sales level* and think about the impact of that trio of songs from that standpoint.
Thriller- 4.5 million plus
Beat It-3.4 million plus
Billie Jean-3.7 million plus
Look at those numbers one more time and then consider that those songs aren't only on the same album, they are back-to-back-to-back. That's not an accident. I'm a huge proponent of the power of album sequencing and Michael and producer Quincy Jones weren't idiots when it came to this subject.
Also, it's not an accident that they fall right in the middle of the album. Think of it in terms of baseball, there are 9 hitters in a line-up, 9 songs on this album. In baseball, the 4-5-6 hitters are what's called "the heart of the line-up". These songs, like previously stated, are numbers 4-5-6.
I might be over-thinking this a bit but this one piece of meticulous attention to detail is what made this album the unstoppable beast that ruled the 1980's and became the yardstick upon which all other album sales would be measured. I'm not going to proclaim "Thriller" as a great album, in my opinion as a full album it's just pretty good but not great, but I marvel at having three power hitters on one platter, all doing the heavy lifting right in the heart of a ground-breaking album.
*-One other thing to consider is that, at that time, singles were sold in stores, meaning you had to physically get yourself to a store and purchase it, not just sit on your rump and click a button.