Who’d of thunk that a lad from Lincolnshire would grow up to be a disco/funk/soul/R&B hitmaker, catch the attention of Quincy Jones and end up writing the title track for the best-selling album of all time?
But that was Rod Temperton (October 9, 1949-September/October 2016). A keyboardist for the disco and funk band Heatwave, Temperton was tapped by Quincy Jones to contribute song ideas for Michael Jackson’s debut solo LP for Epic. The resulting “Rock With You” hit No. 1, and Jones called on Temperton for Jackson’s next album, Thriller. Temperton not only wrote the title song, but he also thought up the Vincent Price narration.
In addition to Jackson, Temperton penned songs for George Benson, Donna Summer, The Brothers Johnson and Manhattan Transfer. He received an Oscar nomination for his contributions to the soundtrack of The Color Purple.