Today is Rod Temperton’s 65th birthday, according to Wikipedia.
For reasons I’m not completely sure of, I’ve always paid attention to songwriting credits. Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall album had three really great songs written by someone named Rod Temperton: “Off the Wall,” “Rock with You,” and “Burn this Disco Out.” The name was so unique that I never forgot it. Over the years I’d see his name pop up again and again. Temperton is an incredibly talented songwriter.
Just look at this partial list of Temperton’s songwriting credits (some songs co-written with others):
- “Boogie Nights,” “The Groove Line,” and “Always and Forever” (during his time with the group Heatwave)
- “Yah Mo B There” (James Ingram and Michael McDonald)
- “Give Me the Night” (George Benson)
- “Man Size Love” (Klymaxx, from the movie Running Scared)
If you link to the Wikipedia article at the top of this post by clicking on Temperton’s name, you’ll see a much longer list of songs.
But I’ve saved the best for last. Temperton also wrote “Thriller,” the song that powered Michael Jackson’s monster music-video masterpiece (an annual Halloween must-see 🙂 ).
Watch the Thriller video here, at the official Michael Jackson website, if you have fifteen minutes. (And here, in this clip from 13 Going on 30, you can watch Jennifer Garner save a party by getting everyone to do the Thriller zombie dance. Plus you can see the “moonwalk” done by Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in Lord of the Rings.)
Happy birthday, Mr. Temperton! And many happy returns.