Michael Jackson told Jesse Jackson (no relation) on the latter's radio program that there were two inspirations for the megahit album, Thriller. As reported in the Washington Post Style section (where all stories on Michael Jackson and his trial belong):
"I used to see signs of graffiti saying 'disco sucks.' . . . Disco was just a happy medium of making people dance, but it was so popular that the society was turning against it. . . . I loved the album that Tchaikovsky did, the 'Nutcracker' Suite. It's an album where every song is a great song. [I decided] I'm going to do an album where every song is a hit record."
Tchaikovsky? He was one of those prolific Brill Building songwriters from the 1960s, wasn't he? That "Nutcracker" album he did was Billboard Top 40 for weeks until the Beatles came along. Then he faded away into obscurity. He was last seen as a rehearsal pianist for amateur ballet companies in the upper Midwest.
Quite an inspiration, indeed. Word is that Cyndi Lauper is basing her comeback CD on the soundtrack recordings Clara Schumann made for the Beach Blanket movies with Frankie and Annette.