LONDON: British songwriter Rod Temperton, who penned Michael Jackson’s iconic hit Thriller in the back of a cab, has passed away at the age of 66. The lyricist also worked with other artists such as Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey, despite having started off his working life in a frozen fish factory.
According to Chairman and Chief Executive of publisher Warner/Chappell Jon Platt, Temperton died last week, after a brief but aggressive battle with cancer.
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,” they stated.
Musician Mark Ronson also paid tribute to the songwriter over his Twitter page. “I’m so devastated to hear that Rod Temperton has passed away,” he tweeted. “A wonderful man and one of my favourite songwriters ever… Thank you for the magic!”
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 in fish processing for a while 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 added. A private funeral has already been held.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2016.
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