Quincy Jones, the producer on Michael Jackson‘s Off the Wall and Thriller, has paid tribute to Rod Temperton, the songwriter behind the King of Pop hits “Thriller,” “Off the Wall,” “Rock With You” and more. Temperton died last week in London following a short battle with cancer.
“There are simply no words to express how heavy my heart is at the news of the passing of my friend, brother and colleague Rod Temperton,” Jones tells Rolling Stone. “It all starts with the song, and Rod was one of my go-to songwriters. He was one of the best, period.
“Not just for Michael [Jackson], but for James Ingram, Patti Austin, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Herbie Hancock and a host of others,” he adds. “His creativity just never stopped. He had an excellent compositional instinct and wrote great music because he had absorbed it to such an extent that it just came straight out of him as if it were second nature.”
Temperton also penned hits for Michael McDonald, George Benson and his own funk outfit Heatwave. But it’s his contribution to Thriller, the best-selling album of all time, that Jones remembers most about the songwriter.
“He wrote three songs for Thriller…’Baby Be Mine,’ ‘The Lady in My Life’ and ‘Thriller’; and wrote the Vincent Price intro to ‘Thriller’ in the car on the way from the airport to the studio,” Jones added. “To say his talent was insane is an understatement. He was the best friend and brother you could ever work with, and I will forever treasure our friendship and all those decades together in the studio.”
Rod Temperton, the songwriter behind “Thriller,” died following a cancer battle. Watch here.