Wednesday, October 05, 2016

R.I.P. Rod Temperton & Kashif

Rod Temperton and Kashif, both died last week, played major roles in transitioning Disco to 80's R&B.  With the sounds of Disco dying, a new kind of dance music began to emerge in the early 80's.  It was light, airy with hints of Disco, but using more synthesizer.  And it crossed over to the Pop charts.

Kashif is the least known of the two, but his production and songwriting skills are all over early 80's R&B.  His best known hits were for Evelyn King, "Love Come Down" and "I'm In Love".  But he also produced and wrote for Whitney Houston, George Benson, Dionne Warwick.  And he had R&B hits of his own.

Rod Temperton was one of the most underrated songwriters of his generation.  His list of classics is long, and his exclusion from the Songwriters Hall of Fame is a crime.  Everyone knows the Michael Jackson hits he wrote:  "Rock With You", "Off The Wall", "Thriller", "Lady In My Life".  And he started out with Heatwave where the origins of that sound came from:  "Boogie Nights", "Always and Forever", "Groove Line".
Thanks to those Heatwave hits his sound became wanted by Quincy Jones who used it not only on the Jackson tracks but with Brothers Johnson's "Stomp", George Benson's "Give Me The Night", and Patti Austin and James Ingram's "Baby Come To Me".   And my fave, the non-Quincy produced, "Sweet Freedom" by Michael McDonald.

Both Kashif and Temperton slowed down post-80's, but their greatest work continued to endure.  Kashif, in death, is just now starting to get the praise that eluded him while he was alive.  Rod Temperton will one day get into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, which will be a justly awarded posthumous honor.

For those of you on Spotify, I've made 2 playlists for both.  The Kashif is missing his early 80's R&B jam with Howard Johnson, "So Fine".  And the Temperton is missing "Sweet Freedom".  Both aren't on Spotify.

Rod Temperton Songbook

Essential Kashif
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