- The UK songwriter penned hits for Michael Jackson, George Benson and disco band Heatwave.
Rod Temperton has died of cancer at age 66.
Jon Platt, chairman and CEO of Warner/Chappell, the publishing arm of the major label, issued a statement on the hitmaker's passing. Temperton died last week after "a brief aggressive battle with cancer," Platt said. "His family is devastated and request total privacy at this, the saddest of sad times."
Temperton is best known for writing the Michael Jackson smash hits "Thriller" and "Rock With You," but his oeuvre also includes evergreen disco tunes like Rufus & Chaka Khan's "Live In Me," The Brothers Johnson's "Stomp," and George Benson's "Give Me The Night." Temperton joined the group Heatwave after responding to founding member Johnnie Wilder's ad for a keyboardist in UK music rag Melody Maker. At the time he was working in a frozen food factory in Grimsby. He'd go on to write the hit songs "Boogie Nights" and "Always And Forever" for the group, both million-sellers in the US.
A native of Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, Temperton traced his songwriting ability to his father. He said "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." He was known as the "Invisible Man," due to his tendency to serve in a behind the scenes capacity for some of the world's biggest pop stars.
Listen to George Benson's "Give Me The Night."