Back in 1981, he wasn't yet a global brand or a cultural icon — he wasn't even the King of Pop. Rather, he was just ascending to the throne. He'd had some hits (1972's "Ben," the first two cuts — "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Rock With You" — from 1979's Off the Wall), and he was ready to forever distance himself from his early years with the Jackson 5, but no one knew what to expect from him next.
Needless to say, we were all blown away with that next step. Released in 1983, Thriller was ... well, it was everything: a milestone release, a decade-defining collection of tunes, the biggest-selling album of all time and — most importantly — Michael's coronation. He was officially and forever the King of Pop, a title he held until his death Thursday (June 25) at the age of 50 and one that will probably be his forever.
Don't miss "A Celebration Of Michael Jackson On MTV," airing at 6 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.