Too High to Get Over

My dad worked at CBS Records (as Sony Music was then known) in the 1980s and programmed the computer systems that handled a lot of their internal bookkeeping. I remember two details he told me about Thriller, which sold so many copies it routinely overwhelmed the computer:

1. One quarter, it accounted for one half of all CBS albums sold everywhere in the world. (Keep in mind that this was not a small label–they had Bruce Springsteen, Men at Work, and Journey, among many other hitmakers of the era.)

2. At a point where everyone assumed the format was dead, including people inside the company, there was a small but steady stream of Thriller eight-track tapes being sold; as near as anyone could figure out, they were being stocked at truck stops.

posted 2 July 2009 in Tasty Bits and tagged , . 1 comment

One Comment Thus Far on Too High to Get Over

  1. Chris M. Says:

    Great stuff.

    What I find ironic about point no. 2 above is that we likely have truck stops to blame for the fact that Thriller is no longer America’s all-time No. 1 album. It’s been said that the reason the Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits 1971–75 keeps selling and selling is that it’s routinely stocked at truck stops on nice-price cassettes and CDs, for long-haul drivers buying their umpteenth copy to drive with “Take It Easy” and “Tequila Sunrise.”

    I’d hazard to guess that Thriller‘s 28 million copies are owned by about 20 to 25 million Americans (accounting for repurchases), while the Eagles disc’s 29 million copies have been owned by 12 to 15 million Americans, tops.

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