Michael Jackson literally ruled the 1980s. He kicked off the decade by carrying over his success from Off the Wall, which was released in August 1979. Off the Wall was a groundbreaking, top-selling funk and disco-pop album, but underrated compared to what came next—and that’s Thriller (1982).
Nothing preexisting or succeeding could top the Thriller. In fact, Michael reigned over pop culture in the ’80s well after the album dropped. Thriller won eight Grammys in 1984, but that only captures a bit of the album’s critical and financial success.
Michael Jackson broke the color barrier on MTV with his music videos “Billie Jean,” “Beat It” and “Thriller.” Not only that, but his music broke color barriers around the world. He’s arguably the one artist that could unite people from many different races, ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds from all over the world. And he did it with the power of his music. He has the album sales to prove it!
It’s impossible to top Thriller. But Michael Jackson made another great album in the ’80s. Bad is one of the best-selling albums of all-time. The album garnered five #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits—“I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Bad,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror” and “Dirty Diana”.