Rod Temperton (1950 - 2016)

Rod Temperton, the legendary songwriter behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” has died, according to multiple news reports. He was 66.

Jon Platt, the chairman of music publisher Warner/Chappell said Temperton died in London last week following “a brief aggressive battle with cancer.”

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


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Temperton was a legendary British pop songwriter whose credits included “Rock With You,” “Boogie Nights,” and “Off the Wall.”​

Temperton began his career as the keyboardist and principal songwriter for the R&B and funk band Heatwave.

Besides writing for Jackson, Temperton worked with Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, the Brothers Johnson, and Quincy Jones. It was Jones who had Temperton work with Michael Jackson.

“Thriller” was a smash hit and certified platinum with over 1 million units sold.

Temperton discussed the origin of the song in an article in The Telegraph in 2010.

“Quincy said to me, 'You managed to come up with a title for the last album, see what you can do for this album.' I said, 'Oh great,' so I went back to the hotel, wrote two or three hundred titles, and came up with the title 'Midnight Man.' The next morning, I woke up, and I just said this word. ... Something in my head just said, this is the title. You could visualize it on the top of the Billboard charts. You could see the merchandising for this one word, how it jumped off the page as 'Thriller.'”

Legendary musician and producer Nile Rogers paid tribute on Instagram:

“Rod Temperton RIP Your genius gave us a funkier world”!

Michael Jackson's sister LaToya wrote: "A brilliant prolific #songwriter Rod Temperton may you #RIP one of my favorite #songs Rock With You #Thriller #legend #Music #MichaelJackson"

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