Greatest GRAMMYs Album of the Year: ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’ or 'Thriller’? | The Tylt

Greatest GRAMMYs Album of the Year: ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’ or 'Thriller’?
Created for CBS Watch! Magazine by The Tylt

It's GRAMMY season, and the award show is revered as the music industry's biggest night. Most artists can only dream of winning Album of the Year at the GRAMMYs, but there are two LPs that stand above other winners in the category. The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" revolutionized rock, while Michael Jackson's record-breaking "Thriller" reshaped pop music. Which Album of the Year winner is the greatest ever?

FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Greatest GRAMMYs Album of the Year: ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’ or 'Thriller’?
#TeamBeatles
A festive crown for the winner
#TeamMichaelJackson
Tune into ET’s official GRAMMYs red carpet this Sunday on CBS, 7p.m. ET /4pm PT.
Learn more
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Greatest GRAMMYs Album of the Year: ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’ or 'Thriller’?
#TeamBeatles
#TeamMichaelJackson
#TeamBeatles

By Jason Henninger, Content Editor:

When you consider that a mere four years separate the pop glee of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and the sonic psychedelia of "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds," it’s easy to see how Beatles fans’ heads must have spun when they first heard “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” It merged Edwardian and Victorian English musical motifs (including a track based on an 1843 circus poster) with sitars and LSD, and the end result changed music forever.

As Newsweek's Jack Kroll wrote in 1967, "It sends us back to the earlier Beatles not for confirmation of the fact that they have always been the best group of their kind. Rather, we listen for those gestations of genius that have now come to fruition. . . Listening to the Sgt. Pepper album one thinks not simply of the history of popular music but the history of this century."

From the upbeat charm of “When I’m Sixty-Four” to the melancholy of “She’s Leaving Home,” every track reveals Lennon and McCartney (mostly the latter) at their songwriting best. The sweeping cinema of “A Day in the Life” paved the way for multilayered long-form rock tracks such as “Stairway to Heaven” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” More than any other album, even other Album of the Year winners, "Sgt. Pepper's" revolutionized rock by showing just how creative a pop album could be. 

Watch a music video of "A Day in the Life" below.

#TeamBeatles

Listen to the remarkable “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" in its entirety below on Spotify.

Tune into ET’s official GRAMMYs red carpet this Sunday on CBS, 7p.m. ET /4pm PT

#TeamMichaelJackson

By Deron Dalton, Deputy Editor:

Before the groundbreaking "Thriller" was even released, Michael Jackson was already an icon as the lead vocalist (and star) of the Jackson 5 with his brothers. He also broke out as a solo artist in the '70s and released his multi-platinum fifth studio album "Off the Wall" in 1979. Even after selling millions of records with the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist, MJ had yet to really break the color barrier in the music industry. "Thriller" would change all of that. 

Released in November 1982, "Thriller" would not only become MJ's magnum opus but is only rivaled by Eagles' "Greatest Hits 1971-1975" for the title of the best-selling album of all time. "Thriller" is currently the second best-selling album ever and is certified 33x platinum (3x diamond) by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Beyond record sales, "Thriller" defined the '80s and reshaped pop music. Because of "Thriller," albums became revered as epic eras of music for pop stars. MJ kicked off the "Thriller" era with not only slaying his Motown 25 performance of "Billie Jean," but popularizing the moonwalk during the show. The performance is considered one of the most iconic moments in music, TV and pop culture history. 

"Billie Jean" and "Beat It" not only topped the Billboard Hot 100, but the music videos for these perfectly-crafted pop bops broke the color barrier on MTV, which primarily played music videos from white rock artists at the time. The titular single "Thriller" became the seventh and final single to chart within the top 10 on the Hot 100. The music video is revered as one of the most innovative of all time. "Thriller" popularized long-form storytelling, visual effects and troupe dancing in music videos. In fact, Moonwalkers reenact the iconic video to this day. 

MJ's "Thriller" era cemented him as the undisputed King of Pop and led to him winning seven album-related GRAMMYs, and even one for "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" in 1984.

Check out the groundbreaking music video to "Thriller" below.

#TeamMichaelJackson

Listen to the record-breaking "Thriller" below via Spotify.

FINAL RESULTS
Entertainment
Greatest GRAMMYs Album of the Year: ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’ or 'Thriller’?
#TeamBeatles
A festive crown for the winner
#TeamMichaelJackson
Tune into ET’s official GRAMMYs red carpet this Sunday on CBS, 7p.m. ET /4pm PT.
Learn more