Artist News Industry People

Michael Jackson songwriter Rod Temperton dies

By | Published on Thursday 6 October 2016

Michael Jackson

Songwriter Rod Temperton – best known for writing Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ and ‘Off The Wall’ – died last week after a period living with a cancer diagnosis, his publisher Warner/Chappell announced yesterday. He was 66.

“Rod Temperton, British composer and musician, died last week at the age of 66 in London following a brief aggressive battle with cancer”, said Warner/Chappell CEO Jon Platt in a statement. “His funeral was private”.

He continued: “He was often referred to as The Invisible Man. He was the sole writer of multiple successful songs such as ‘Thriller’, ‘Off The Wall’, ‘Rock With You’, ‘Give Me The Night’, ‘Sweet Freedom’, ‘Always & Forever’ and ‘Boogie Nights’ to name just a few. His family is devastated and request total privacy at this, the saddest of sad times”.

Born in Cleethorpes in 1950, Temperton’s career took off as the keyboard player in R&B group Heatwave, for whom he wrote ‘Boogie Nights’, joining after answering an advert in Melody Maker in 1974.

He left the band in 1978 to become a songwriter full-time, and was quickly hired by Quincy Jones to write for Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’ album. Three of his songs appeared on the record, including ‘Rock With You’, as well as three on the follow-up, ‘Thriller’, including the title track.

Temperton also wrote for Aretha Franklin, Karen Carpenter, George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Donna Summer and Mica Paris, among many others, and contributed to a number of film soundtracks.