Michael Jackson’s Thriller was my favorite album when I was a kid, and the actual song “Thriller” was just so freakin’ cool! I listened to that song over and over again on my parent’s record player. My favorite part of the song was Vincent Price’s rap. That voice is seared into my brain and that album was my introduction to the legendary actor.
Vincent Price was recommended for the party by Peggy Lipton, who was then married to Jackson’s producer Quincy Jones and knew him.
Price accepted the part and was offered two payment options. He told Johnny Carson that he was offered a one-time $20,000 fee or a percentage of the album proceeds. He ended up choosing the $20,000 which is absolutely crazy and Thriller sold over 110 million copies worldwide!
Price would have made so much more money had he chosen the album earnings. When Carson suggested that Price could have done a lot better if he made the other choice, he laughed and said “How well I know!”
After Price was locked in and the song’s recording session scheduled, the rap still needed to be written. Rod Temperton wrote the lyrics to the rap in a taxi on the way to the studio.
It’s reported that a recording engineer noted that while “Price was delighted to contribute his vocals to the song, he was startled by the headphones when he arrived at the studio, never having used them before. When he reluctantly put them on, he jumped out of his chair in surprise upon hearing the funky music track he was to speak over. He ultimately needed a little help with his cues to speak over the music, but he ended up nailing it.”
Price recorded his portion of the song in only two takes. Quincy Jones praised Price’s work and accuracy as “fabulous.” You can listen to the recording session for the rap below! You can also listen to our Secret Level podcast where we talk about the making of the music video here!
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