Saturday, April 30, 2011

Why don't more people know about the Thriller Groove Line connection?

I have no intention of ever making a list of the top 10 things I find most odd about Michael Jackson, but, if one did choose to make one, I think it should include the fact that his songwriters get so little credit.  Michael is like Elvis in the sense of being first and foremost a performer, but aren't some of his songs good enough, just as songs, that it's worth knowing who wrote them?

The same guy wrote Thriller, Rock With You, and Off The Wall, and that same guy was in a pretty popular disco band in the 70s.  I don't recall how I stumbled upon this fact, but I know nobody told me, and I know Wikipedia wasn't around yet then.  I was either looking at a Michael Jackson record or a Heatwave record and thinking that there probably weren't two different songwriters named Rod Temperton.

Heatwave's "The Groove Line" is one of my all-time favorite songs.  If you want to know where it ranks, you'll need to wait for one of my own lists, but it's fair to say that it's right up there with some of the great punk songs on my last post.  I was searching for a list of best disco songs for today's post and stumbled instead upon a list of the top 10 disco songs written by Rod Temperton.

This is a neat list, and I'll tell you why - that's why I'm here (go back and read the preamble if that sounds odd, even if it's not quite as odd as Michael Jackson).  There are several songs on this really short list that I absolutely love.  In addition to the Groove Line, there's Heatwave's other classic "Boogie Nights", Michael's "Rock With you", and the Brothers Johnson's "Stomp".  There are others that I only vaguely remember (e.g. George Benson's "Give Me the Night") and others that I've either completely forgotten or to which I never really gave a serious listen.  Now I will search out some of these songs.  I will regret hearing some of them and I will curse the listmaker, but others will being me newfound joy.  It's just a prediction, but I'm not new at this.  Also, I'm a professional statistician, so I usually do OK with the whole predicting thing.

I think I may have made a mistake coming out swinging with my first list post on the top 100 punk songs.  The list was too long and too loud for the broadbased quibble-friendly audience I'm trying to find.  I'll circle back to punk and to longer lists as these posts evolve.

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