The British songwriter who penned Michael Jackson’s hit song Thriller in the back of a taxi, Rod Temperton, died last week of cancer. He was 66.
Temperton, who started his working life in a frozen fish factory, had worked with artists including Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey. He died last week after a “brief but aggressive battle with cancer,” said Jon Platt, chairman and chief executive of publisher Warner/Chappell.
Temperton is said to have come up with much of Thriller in a taxi as he travelled to the recording studio.
The Quincy Jones-produced album of the same name from which it came broke records when it was released in December of 1982, becoming the first to sell more than 30 million copies in the United States.
Jackson, for whom Temperton also wrote Rock With You, died aged 50 on June 25, 2009, from a lethal dose of sedatives.
The cast of the musical Thriller Live in London’s West End said theatre lights would be dimmed for five minutes, in memory of Temperton.
“Thank you for the music. The Thriller Live family salutes you,” the cast said.
Musician Mark Ronson paid tribute to the songwriter on Twitter through a series of tweets:
so devastated to hear that Rod Temperton has passed away. a wonderful man & one of my favourite songwriters ever. thank you for the magic x— Mark Ronson (@MarkRonson) October 5, 2016
Rod Temperton = Off The Wall. Stomp. Lady In My Life. Thriller. Boogie Nights.— Mark Ronson (@MarkRonson) October 5, 2016
Give Me The Night. Ain’t No Half Steppin’. Rock With You...
my love and thoughts go out to Kathy, all his family and loved ones. we'll miss you Rod— Mark Ronson (@MarkRonson) October 5, 2016
Temperton was described on social media as “a great British songwriter” by former Culture Club singer Boy George, while rapper LL Cool J said “we have lost a true genius”.
Born in Cleethorpes, northern England, Temperton worked for a while processing fish, before joining disco outfit Heatwave for whom he wrote the 1977 hit Boogie Nights.
“His family is devastated and request total privacy at this, the saddest of sad times,” Platt said in a statement. A private funeral has already been held.
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