Thursday, April 1, 2010

Who Put The Funk In MJ's Thriller?

MJ's Thriller was way ahead of it's time, both artistically and technically.

If you listen critically to the title song "Thriller", you'll hear a tightly arranged mix of rhythms and beats.

The driving beats and poly rhythms are result of synth mastery contributed by these artists:

Anthony Marinelli:
Synthesizer Programming, Programming
David Paich
: Piano, Synthesizer, Rhythm Arrangements, Arranger, Synthesizer Arrangements, Keyboards
Greg Phillinganes:
Synthesizer, Programming, Fender Rhodes, Handclapping, Keyboards
Steve Porcaro: Synthesizer Programming, Arranger, Programming, Synthesizer
Greg Smith: Synthesizer, Keyboards
Bruce Swedien
: Effects, Sound Effects, Engineer, Mixing
Rod Temperton:
Arranger, Synthesizer Arrangements, Vocal Arrangement, Synthesizer, Rhythm.

Many people think that Michael Jackson wrote Thriller, but it was another musical genius who penned the epic song that became the title track of the best selling album of all time, Rod Temperton.

RT was an original member of the Funk / Disco band Heatwave who had hits with: Always And Forever, Boogie Nights, Groove Line and Too Hot To Handle. Born in England in 1947, Rod Temperton worked in a frozen fish factory after leaving school, but had big musical ambitions. He moved to Germany in 1972 and formed a soul covers band called Sundown Carousel. It was here that Temperton met Quincy Jones and began working with him.

In the early 80's Temperton left Germany and moved to California.
In 1979, Quincy Jones enlisted the songwriting of Rod Temperton for Michael Jackson's Off The Wall album. He wrote Rock With You, Burn this Disco and the title track, Off The Wall.

In 1982 Temperton wrote the title track of "Thriller" - what would go on to be the best selling album of all time.

How did the team create such haunting rhythms and driving backbeat?

Here's a list of synths used on Michael Jackson "Thriller".

Remember this was the '80's, so his mastery of synth music was indeed extraodinary. The medium was just beginning to evolve musically and technically.

Yamaha CS-80
Roland Jupiter 8 (x3)
NED Synclavier II
DK Synergy
Roland Jupiter 4
Roland MC-4 microcomposer/sequencer
Yamaha GS-1 FM synth
Oberheim Four-Voice
SCI Prophet 5 (x2)
Yamaha CE20 FM preset synth
Yamaha portasound keyboard
Roland VP-330 vocoder/strings
Bode Vocoder
E-mu Emulator I
plus a couple of Minimoogs,,107885,00.html

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