Rod Temperton died in London last week at the age of 66 after “a brief aggressive battle with cancer”, Jon Platt of Warner/Chappell music publishing has announced.
In addition to Thriller and Rock With You, Rod Temperton’s other hits for Michael Jackson included Off The Wall and Baby Be Mine along with Always and Forever and Boogie Nights for his band Heatwave.
Rod Temperton was born in Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire and traced his song writing skills back to his father’s influence. He once related: “My father wasn’t the kind of person who would read you a story before you went off to sleep. He used to put a transistor radio in the crib and I would go to sleep listening to Radio Luxembourg, and I think somehow that had an influence.”
It certainly worked because after some time spent working in a frozen food factory in Grimsby in the 1970s, Rod Temperton responded to an advert in Melody Maker magazine for a keyboardist. The band he joined was the disco ensemble Heatwave and his contribution was massive, writing signature songs Boogie Nights, Always & Forever and Groove Line.
By the time he left Heatwave in 1978, his tunes had caught the attention of producer Quincy Jones, who was looking for songwriters for a new Michael Jackson album. Rod Temperton wrote three songs for the Off The Wall album, which became Michael Jackson’s breakthrough solo album – Off The Wall, Rock With You and Burn This Disco Out.
Rod Temperton then went on to write three more tracks for follow-up album Thriller, including the title track, Baby Be Mine and The Lady in My Life.
Rod Temperton won a Grammy Award in 1990 for his work on Birdland, from Quincy Jones’s album Back on the Block. He was also nominated for two Oscars in 1986 for his work with Quincy Jones on the soundtrack for the film The Color Purple.
Rod Temperton once summed up his approach to song writing: “The first criteria is write something you love first, and once you feel those hairs standing up on the back of your hand, you can go to the world.”
Now it strikes the Record Press author that this is sound advice – always follow your heart and forever…..and you won’t go far wrong!!