Michael Jackson – Thriller (Drum Grooves)

It’s time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of one of the most iconic albums in music history. Thriller by Michael Jackson is the best-selling album of all time, with more than 100 million copies sold. The album was released on November 30, 1982, for Epic Records, and produced by the legendary Quincy Jones with the collaboration of renowned musicians such as Paul McCartney, Eddie Van Halen, and Steve Lukather, to name a few. Seven of the nine songs included were released as singles in this chronological order: “The Girl Is Mine”, “Billie Jean”, “Beat It”, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'”, “Human Nature”, “PY.T. (Pretty Young Thing)”, and “Thriller”.

michael jackson the making of thriller
The making of “The Girl Is Mine”

As a big fan of this timeless album, I decided to transcribe and share with you all the main grooves for Thriller. As specified in the transcriptions, two songs were played with a drum machine (the Linn LM-1), and the rest seven songs were recorded by the two drummers Leon “Ndugu” Chancler and Jeff Porcaro. The drum groove for “Billie Jean” beyond his relative simplicity, is probably the most important of all time, with the drumming of Leon “Ndugu” Chancler perfectly suiting the brilliant arrangement. Every song has a specific feel that can’t be notated in the transcriptions. Listen to the original track and focus on the hi-hat, balancing the bass drum and snare part. It’s a matter of life and groove!

DOWNLOAD THE PDF

Thriller 40 (released on November 18) celebrates the 40th anniversary of the album with bonus materials, demos, alternate versions, and mixes for 34 tracks in total. More info: https://www.thriller40.com

Thriller changed music, pop culture, and the media landscape forever. Even in 100, 500, and 1000 years, people will play, dance, sing, and go crazy on this masterpiece. Forever, Michael!

“In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.” ― Michael Jackson


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