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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Original Master Recording of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ for Auction

Headlining the December 20, 2009 Bonhams & Butterfields auction of Entertainment Memorabilia is the original master test proof recording of Michael Jackson’s hit song ‘Thriller,’ 1983.

Michael Jackson 'ThrillerThis recording is from the mastering session at Allen Zentz Mastering Studio in Hollywood. The acetate disc features the title song from ‘Thriller’ along with the instrumental version. Used by Grammy® winning master recording engineer, Bruce Swedien to check the sound quality before Jackson released the single version of his hit song, ‘Thriller’ in January 1984; the record has only been played once. Included in this consignment is a copy of Mr. Swedien’s autobiography, ‘Make Mine Music’ which devotes a full chapter to the making of ‘Thriller’.

Consigned by California State University Summer Arts and donated by Mr. Swedien, this album is being sold to benefit scholarships for students at California State University Summer Arts. The multidisciplinary curriculum offers participants a wide range of course offerings in the visual, performing, and literary arts.

The song ‘Thriller’ was released in 1982 on Jackson’s sixth studio album; the single was released in 1984, and remains one of the best-selling records of all time. The album earned Jackson two Grammy Awards® in 1984 for: ‘Record of the Year’ and ‘Best Rock Vocal Performance’ and confirmed his status as one of the preeminent musicians of the late 20th century.

Additional highlights for this auction, including Hollywood, Rock-n-Roll, and Animation memorabilia will be outlined in a later press release. Images are available upon request. The illustrated auction catalog will be online at in the weeks preceding the sale.

Preview: December 18-19, 2009, Los Angeles

Auction: December 20, 2009, Los Angeles