Rod Temperton

Rod Temperton (1949-2016) was a British songwriter, record producer, and musician best known for his work with Michael Jackson, Heatwave, and Quincy Jones. Often referred to as the "invisible man" due to his low public profile, Temperton's contributions to music were monumental, shaping the sound of pop and R&B through the late 20th century.

Timeline of Career Highlights

  1. 1949: Born on October 9 in Cleethorpes, England.
  2. 1974: Joins the funk band Heatwave as a keyboardist and primary songwriter.
  3. 1976: Heatwave releases debut album “Too Hot to Handle”, featuring the hit "Boogie Nights."
  4. 1977: Releases “Central Heating” with Heatwave, including the hit "The Groove Line."
  5. 1979: Leaves Heatwave to focus on songwriting and producing.
  6. 1982: Writes several tracks for Michael Jackson's “Thriller”, including "Thriller" and "Baby Be Mine."
  7. 1984: Contributes to Michael Jackson's “Victory” album and writes "Yah Mo B There" for James Ingram and Michael McDonald.
  8. 1987: Writes "Sweet Freedom" for Michael McDonald.
  9. 1990s-2010s: Continues to write and produce for various artists, maintaining a low profile.
  10. 2016: Passes away on October 5.

Albums and Discography

1. With Heatwave

  1. “Too Hot to Handle” (1976)
  2. “Central Heating” (1977)
  3. “Hot Property” (1979)

2. Notable Contributions and Compositions

  1. Michael Jackson: "Rock with You," "Off the Wall," "Thriller," "Baby Be Mine," "Burn This Disco Out."
  2. George Benson: "Give Me the Night," "Love X Love."
  3. James Ingram and Michael McDonald: "Yah Mo B There."
  4. Patti Austin: "Razzmatazz."

Grammy Awards

1985 Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "Yah Mo B There" (James Ingram and Michael McDonald).

Multiple Grammy nominations throughout his career, including for his work on Michael Jackson's albums.

Famous Songs and Compositions

  1. "Thriller" (1982) - Michael Jackson’s iconic hit, known for its groundbreaking music video. Apparently he wrote the monologue in a taxi on the way to the studio, where he placed it on the lecturn for Vincent Price to read - the rest is history!
  2. "Rock with You" (1979) - One of Michael Jackson’s most beloved songs.
  3. "Boogie Nights" (1976) - Heatwave’s breakthrough hit.
  4. "Give Me the Night" (1980) - A major hit for George Benson.

Collaborations and Cover Versions

Collaborations Worked extensively with Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, George Benson, and many other prominent artists.

Cover Versions Many of Temperton's songs have been covered by various artists, reflecting their enduring popularity and influence.


Quincy Jones on Temperton "Rod Temperton was one of the greatest songwriters of all time."

Temperton "I like to stay in the background and let the music speak for itself."

Gossip and Personal Anecdotes

Despite his success, Temperton remained a reclusive figure, preferring to let his music take center stage.

He was known for his meticulous work ethic and his ability to craft catchy, enduring melodies and grooves.

His transition from a small-town English musician to a global hitmaker is often cited as a testament to his talent and determination.

Rod Temperton’s legacy is marked by his remarkable ability to write timeless songs that continue to resonate across generations. His work with some of the biggest names in music, particularly his contributions to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, cemented his place as one of the most influential songwriters in modern music history. Despite his low profile, his music continues to speak volumes.

Songs: Thriller, Rock with You,GIve me the night

Check out the video too...