Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’: Songwriter Rod Temperton dies at 66


The briliant man who penned many of the greatest musical hits of our time has passed away. Rod Temperton was an original member of the group Heatwave, international funk/disco band popular in the mid ’70s. He met Quincy Jones and became one of most sought after creators.

Rod is wearing the blue shirt (Photo Credit: Twitter @RodTemperton)
Rod is wearing the blue shirt (Photo Credit: Twitter @RodTemperton)

The British songwriter died in London last week at the age of 66 after “a brief aggressive battle with cancer,” according to Jon Platt of Warner/Chappell music publishing.

Temperton’s greatest hits:

  • “Thriller” – Michael Jackson
  • “Rock With You” – Michael Jackson
  • “Boogie Nights” – Heatwave
  • “Give Me The Night” – George Benson
  • “Baby, Come to Me” – Patti Austin and James Ingram
  • “Sweet Freedom” – Michael McDonald

His compositions for Michael Jackson – particularly on the Thriller album – are some of the most famous pop songs in history, and the album continues to sell more than 100,000 copies a year. Last December (2015) The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced on that Michael Jackson’s 1982 album, Thriller, became the first album in the association’s 63-year history to go 30-times multi-platinum in the US, shifting 30m copies in the US and a record-breaking 100m copies worldwide.

On his Twitter bio, Temperton wrote: “Born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, England. Destroyed the World!!!”

Upon news of his death, LaToya Jackson wrote: “A brilliant prolific #songwriter Rod Temperton may you #RIP one of my favorite #songs Rock With You #Thriller #legend #Music #MichaelJackson”

He also penned some other well known hits; some made quite a few artists household names: “Stomp,” The Brothers Johnson; “Do You Love Me,” Patti Austin; “Living In The Streets,” Aretha Franklin;  “The Dude,” Quincy Jones; “Gettin’ To The Good Part,” Herbie Hancock; “Live In Me,” Rufus & Chaka Khan; “One More Rhythm,” James Ingram; “Sign Of The Times,” Bob James; “Mystery,” Manhattan Transfer; “Always and Forever,” Heatwave; “The Secret Garden,” Quincy Jones; and “You Put A Move On My Heart,” Mica Paris.

Temperton was nominated for the best original song Oscar for Miss Celie’s Blues in 1986, a track he co-wrote with Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie for the film The Color Purple.

“His family is devastated and request total privacy at this, the saddest of sad times,” Platt added.

Check out some of his intimate and humorous posts on social media.

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