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‘Thriller’ Songwriter Rod Temperton Dead at 66

As if 2016 couldn’t get any harder to digest in terms of the high volume of deaths, the music industry loses another beloved figure. According to Billboard, legendary songwriter, Rod Temperton died last week in London because of his “brief aggressive battle with cancer.” He was 66.


Temperton’s music publisher, Jon Platt, Chairman & CEO of Warner/Chappell, was the one who first announced the songwriter’s passing.

“His family is devastated and request total privacy at this, the saddest of sad times,” he said during Temperton’s private funeral last week.

Temperton penned a slew of classics for Michael Jackson including “Thriller,” “Rock With You,” and “Off the Wall.” He initially paved his way as a reputable songwriter when he a member of the 1970s group, Heatwave. They wrote several hits with “Always & Forever” and “Boogie Nights.”

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After he left the group in 1978, he teamed up with the iconic Quincy Jones to craft Michael Jackson’s debut album Off the Wall. Then, in 1982, he assisted on Michael’s magnum opus Thriller. He wrote “Baby Be Mine”  and “The Lady in My Life.” In 1986, he was nominated at the Oscars for Best Original Song with “Miss Celie’s Blues” from The Color Purple. 

Temperton’s writing credits includes songs for George Benson, Patti Austin, The Brothers Johnson, Donna Summer and Herbie Hancock.

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