Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ Wins Album of the Year

Michael Jackson Thriller
Getty Images

Already in the record books this year as the best-selling artist of all time, Michael Jackson made Grammy Award history last night at the Shrine Auditorium, as his “Thriller” album and its smash contents received eight awards out of a possible 10 wins on 12 nominations.

Jackson’s two losses were to the Police, who copped three Grammys in all for the “Synchronicity” album and the single “Every Breath You Take.” Group’s singer-songwriter, Sting, also won a Grammy for a cut from the soundtrack for the “Brimstone & Treacle” feature, in which he starred.

Jackson’s eight wins topped Paul Simon’s previous record of seven in a year, earned in 1970, for the Simon & Garfunkel hit, “Bridge Over Trouble Water.”

Although Jackson received 12 nominations, three of the nominations were in one category, thus limiting his potential Grammy total to 10. The “Thriller” album received an additional Grammy for best engineered recording.

Another Grammy Award record was broken last night when Henry Mancini’s lifetime haul of 20 Grammys was topped by classical music conductor Sir Georg Solti, who with four Grammy wins became the most awarded person, with a total of 23 Grammys.

Much-nominated, the “Flashdance” soundtrack had to settle for three Grammys, including female pop vocal honors to Irene Cara for the title tune; Giorgio Moroder’s “Love Theme,” which won best instrumental composition, and the best soundtrack award, an honor which brought what may be a record number of trophy recipients to the Shrine stage — 15 songwriters.

Another three-Grammy winner last night was Chaka Khan, who won as a solo vocalist, a member of the group Rufus, and as a vocal arranger.

Duran Duran, not too surprisingly, took home both video Grammys awarded last night.

Local groups, Los Lobos, won the first Grammy awarded in the new MexicanAmerican performance category, which was added this year. In all, three Latin music Grammys are now presented. In other awards, Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” beat out Jane Fonda’s pregnancy workout album in the spokenword category; artist Robert Rauschenberg s creation for the limited edition version of Talking Heads’ “Speaking In Tongues” album was deemed the best LP package of the year; Eddie Murphy topped Joan Rivers, among others, in the comedy album category, and Donna Summer won the inspirational performance Grammy for a cut from her “She Works Hard For The Money” LP, “He’s A Rebel.”

Michael Jackson attends the official Grammy Awards Party at L’Ermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. photo credit: Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)

Ceremonies at the Shrine, telecast by CBS, also honored Chuck Berry, Charlie Parker and Arturo Toscanini with lifetime achievement awards. Berry, the only honoree still living, performed on the special with two spiritual guitar-playing descendants, George Thorogood and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Show also cited this year’s inductees into the National Academy of Recording Arts & Science’s Hall of Fame — the 1955 Frank Sinatra LP, “In The Wee Small Hours”; Walter Huston’s interpretation of “September Song”; Heitor VillaLobos “Bachianas Brasilerias No. 5 — Aria”; the Woody Herman Orchestra’s “Four Brothers” instrumental, and Fats Waller’s piano solo of “Ain’t Misbehavin.”

Awards show, for the first time, used music videos rather than album cover stills or live shots of the nominees when running down the contenders in several musical categories.

Live on stage at the Shrine, Herbie Hancock’s performance of his Grammy-winning number, “Rockit,” proved particularly electrifying, as did the appearance of Eurythmics vocalist Annie Lennox, her carrotred hairdo abandoned for a pompadour and sideburns hair style which suggested slender versions of Wayne Newton and Vegas-era Elvis Presley.

Eliciting the loudest laughter was Culture Club vocalist Boy George’s acceptance of the band’s best new artist Grammy via satellite from London, in which he thanked the Academy for “knowing a good drag queen when you see one.”

The three-hour telecast ran 16 minutes overtime.