1982: Thriller

If you’re going by record sales, 1982 has to be the Greatest Year in Music.

The November release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller sent shockwaves around the world, becoming (and remaining) the best selling album of all time. The record produced seven singles, the majority of which are Jackson’s best known songs including “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “PYT” and the title track. The accompanying video was a cultural phenomenon that still influences artistic direction today.

1982 also holds the debut of Madonna with her first single “Everybody,” preceeding her debut self-titled LP that would be released the following year.

Prince’s 1999 was also a hit, giving the artist his first top 10 record on the Billboard 200 charts. Elvis Costello’s Imperial Bedroom was named Album of the Year by the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll, and Kate Bush’s The Dreaming turned into a slow-burning success.

Check out even more reasons why 1982 might have been the Greatest Year in Music below and let us know what you think in the comments or across social media with #XPNGreatestYear.


Thriller – Michael Jackson
1999 – Prince
Imperial Bedroom – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful – The Waitresses
Nebraska – Bruce Springsteen
The Dreaming – Kate Bush
Computer Games – George Clinton
The Distance – Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
Picture This – Huey Lewis and the News
Midnight Love – Marvin Gaye
Repercussion – The dB’s
English Settlement – XTC
Beautiful Vision – Van Morrison
The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect – Todd Rundgren
Asia – Asia
Shoot Out the Lights – Richard and Linda Thompson
Branigan – Laura Branigan
Green Light – Bonnie Raitt
Dawn Patrol – Night Ranger
The Blue Mask – Lou Reed
The Golden Age of Wireless – Thomas Dolby
Sonic Youth – Sonic Youth
Walk Among Us – The Misfits
Toto IV – Toto
American Fool – John Cougar
Iron Fist – Motorhead
Big Science – Laurie Anderson
Marshall Crenshaw – Marshall Crenshaw
After the Snow – Modern English
Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch – Frank Zappa
Rio – Duran Duran
Combat Rock – The Clash
Hot Space – Queen
Avalon – Roxy Music
Tropical Gangsters – Kid Creole and the Coconuts
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Stink – The Replacements
Pictures at Eleven – Robert Plant
Night and Day – Joe Jackson
No Control – Eddie Money
Somewhere in the Stars – Rosanne Cash
Screaming for Vengeance – Judas Priest
So Excited! – Pointer Sisters
Under the Big Black Sun – X
Vacation – The Go-Go’s
Bad to the Bone – George Thorogood & the Destroyers
Too-Rye-Ay – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Under the Blade – Twisted Sister
Love over Gold – Dire Straits
Forever, for Always, for Love – Luther Vandross
The Nylon Curtain – Billy Joel
Heartlight – Neil Diamond
H2O – Hall & Oates
The Rise – Madness
Keep On Doing – The Roches
Kissing to Be Clever – Culture Club
Plastic Surgery Disasters – Dead Kennedys

Category: 80s


Article by: Julie Miller