Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' Getting 40th Anniversary Reissue

'Thriller 40'
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MJJ/Epic Records/Legacy Recordings

The biggest album of all time is about to get a little bigger.

The estate of Michael Jackson announced a reissue of Thriller, his landmark 1982 album, on Nov. 18, a few weeks ahead of its 40th anniversary. It will be available as a 2CD set with an as-yet-unconfirmed bonus disc of rare and unreleased material. Additional retail exclusives are planned, including vinyl variants at Target and Wal-Mart.

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The album - Michael's second since singing a contract to Epic Records as an adult - would, without exaggeration, change the course of music history. Already a hitmaker on his own and with The Jackson 5 as a child, Thriller featured a confident, complex assortment of genre-bending songs produced by Quincy Jones and featuring a who's who of backing musicians, including a memorable guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen on "Beat It." In total, the album has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and spun off seven of its nine singles as U.S. Top 10 hits: "The Girl is Mine," a duet with Paul McCartney; the No. 1 hits "Billie Jean" and "Beat It"; "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Human Nature," "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" and the spooky title track.

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"Billie Jean," "Beat It" and "Thriller" were also promoted by groundbreaking, big budget "short film" music videos that were among the first by a Black artist to be played on the fledgling MTV and turned the practice of videos into an art form. (The John Landis-directed clip for "Thriller" is the only video selected for preservation in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry.) Thriller won seven of a record-setting eight Grammy Awards for Jackson in one night, and solidified his place among fans all over the world as the King of Pop.

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The song was #1 in America for three weeks in September and October 1985.
Larry Marano/Getty Images

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The big hits of the year, from New York to east California.

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