Where is Rod Temperton?
It’s a question i’ve often asked myself over the years. So the other night I went into a nostalgic frenzy on Woofer Radio, playing Heatwave and Michael Jackson songs, many of which were written by Rod Temperton. So again I googled him and again, I came up short. Wikipedia shows him as still being alive but that’s all i’ve got to work on. Just in case you’re wondering who said guy is, this is the man who teamed up with Quincy Jones to create the phenomenon called Michael Jackson, well he didn’t ‘create’ Michael, we all knew him from Jackson 5 but as far as Michael Jackson the solo artist goes, much kudos must be given to Rod.
Rodney Lynn “Rod” Temperton was born 15 October 1947 in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, England and is a songwriter, record producer and musician. In 1974 he joined the funk/disco group Heatwave as keyboard player, penning the majority of their songs, including massive hits such as ‘Boogie Nights’ and the babymaker ballad ‘Always & Forever’ which were million-sellers.
He left Heatwave in 1978 to concentrate on being a songwriter and in 1979 was drafted in by Quincy Jones to work on Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’ album. The rest as they say is history as he wrote three songs for the album including my favourite ever Michal Jackson song, ‘Rock With You’. After that came the ‘Thriller’ album on which he wrote another three, including title track ‘Thriller’, ‘Lady In My Life’ and ‘Baby Be Mine’.
But Rod seemed to disappear at some point in the 80’s, having never been one for the spotlight anyway. So I went into deep, deep Google mode but no interviews, no website, nothing. But then I came across a Twitter account for Rod Temperton with 1,231 followers. 1,231 followers?! Rod Temperton? 1,231? 43 million have his works from ‘Thriller’ and another 28 million, his works on ‘Off The Wall’. And that’s not evening adding millions from his works with Heatwave, Patti Austin, Brothers Johnson, George Benson, Manhattan Transfer, Donna Summer and James Ingram to mention a few. So i’m not too sure about that account.
Besides is a guy with no other online presence likely to have a Twitter account? That’s more the last thing most people get into even when they have official websites. But you never know but me I ain’t too sure. Read a tweet to the account in which Mica Paris said she was on her way to a session with him but i’m not aware of the song(s) ever being released. My research also reveals that Rod apparently re-surfaced in 2006 to take part in a BBC radio documentary. He was also apparently working with an English singer-songwriter called Emily Friendship but after that the trail goes cold
The big man is probably simply retired and walking his dog, a regular in his local pub in Cleethorpes where all the punters are sworn to secrecy. The man must have probably become disillusioned with the industry but I can’t imagine a man with that much talent could ever have stopped writing. I imagine a scene like the one from the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’ where Rod is tracked down to a tiny room where the walls are littered with musical staves, dotted with quavers and semi quavers, cobwebs dangling from corner to corner. Crouching in a corner, Rod hums the melodies of a potential hit song. I only Imagine what a treasure trove of songs this man must have built after all these years out of the limelight.
If anyone knows where Rod is, please let us know. This man is responsible for some of the greatest songs in music. He needs to be unearthed and be given his props while he’s alive! The world has a knack of loving people up only after they’ve croaked. Here’s a man that must have a lot of stories to tell. Songwriters out there must be gagging for his formula for writing a hit. I’ve been looking for this man for years, i’d love to buy him a beer, talk about Heatwave, Michael and Quincy, how he writes and where his inspiration comes.
So let’s find Rod. I’d say we start with unsolved homicides in Cleethorpes – perhaps pub punters who said too much?…..Share: