Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' anniversary: Album released 30 years ago Friday

Nearly every song off Thriller, including the title track, was an instant hit. Photo: Associated Pressa

(AP) - It's still memorable enough to get people to the dance floor - and has spawned any number of imitations.

But many music fans might forget that the title track to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" wasn't the first single released from the album, which was released 30 years ago Friday.

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In fact, it was the final single from the project.

The first was "The Girl Is Mine," a duet Jackson did with Paul McCartney. It wasn't as well received as later hits like "Billie Jean," ''Human Nature," ''Beat It" and "Wanna Be Starting Something." Quincy Jones produced "Thriller" and says he gave Jackson a nickname while they worked on the project: "smelly."

The story went that it was because Jackson would go for several straight days in the studio without bathing. But Jones says he gave Jackson the nickname because the singer would use "smelly" as a substitute for funky - because he thought funky sounded too much like profanity.