Monday, 10 October 2016

MusicMonday: LostInMusic - Rod Temperton Retrospective

Rod Temperton was a lyrical Norse deity.

One sixth of the band Heatwave - who I grew up on, even though his songs had made the band famous, he had left and gone on to become one third of a dream writing team for the legendary Michael Jackson, all before I was born - their Soul / Disco / Funk sound was like nothing else being done in the music industry at that time, except maybe by the likes of Earth, Wind and Fire.

Little did Temperton - the white guy from Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, writing and playing black Soul hits - know, but he was going to change the course of musical history, by writing one of the most successful songs of all time. Now pay attention here folks, because something will soon happen that you won't see often...I am about to eat humble pie. Before that though, I would really like you to enjoy some of this amazing man's legacy whilst I stall *ahem* find the right words to continue this tribute. Here are just a few of my favourites...

So as I was saying, the iconic man picked up a pen, and inked some of the greatest songs in Soul / Disco / Funk history. Heatwave was the latest of several bands that he joined, although his most famous. Writing all of the songs for the band's 1977 debut album 'Too Hot To Handle', earning them a UK No.2 for their monster third single, 'Boogie Nights' (described by Temperton to be "the most universal song I've written"); their fourth being arguably their most famous - 'Always and Forever'. Shockingly, the beautiful ballad only made it into the UK Top 10 (#18 on the Billboard charts), despite it's huge popularity. Temperton repeated his success with Heatwave's second album 'Central Heating' just a year later, when 'The Groove Line' gave the band another Billboard Top 10 hit

Rod Temperton in front with his Heatwave bandmates

Leaving the band in the same year to focus solely on songwriting (although still providing Heatwave with a steady flow of material); it was then that the legendary producer Quincy Jones snapped him up to join the songwriting trio known as the 'A Team', comprising the two of them, and Sound Engineer, Bruce Swedien. Also taking on solo projects for other artists like Ms. Aretha Franklin, Patti Austin, James Ingram, Siedah Garrett, Jeffrey Osborne, Karen Carpenter, Mica Paris, and many more that even I didn't know about until researching this piece!

Here's where things get messy. My lasting memory will forever be of Rod Temperton behind the scenes of the Making The Video recording for 'Thriller' (before the TV show was even an idea in anybody's mind); up until four years ago, I had had that video since I was in single figures, and being the kind of music dork that used to read the credits of absolutely every song, I'm quite certain that I remember there being something about Rod Temperton sharing the writing credits of 'Thriller' with MJ...and even went so far as to post a statement to that effect on Facebook and Twitter stating what I thought was a fact - only it appears that was not the case. Rod Temperton has sole writing credits for 'Thriller', and I was...not correct. There, I said it, it's written here for all the world to read, and I can't take it back...happy?!

Moving swiftly on, I was surprised to learn that Temperton was nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar in 1986, for 'Miss Celie's Blues', co-written (see, he co-wrote sometimes *pokes tongue*) with Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones for the movie adaptation of The Color Purple, and wrote five songs for the Billy Crystal movie 'Running Scared's soundtrack in the same year.

Rod Temperton's talent is a HUGE loss to the music world, and the gaping cavern left behind is one that will never be healed. He will never be forgotten.

Sincerest condolences to his wife Kathy and everyone else who truly feels his loss.

That's all for this week folks, dependent upon the state of my recovery, I hope to be back here with you on Wednesday - drop by, or follow the ESintheP Facebook Page for updates.

Until the next...

Photo courtesy of