Rod Temperton's Biggest Billboard Hits, From Michael Jackson to LL Cool J

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Rod Temperton, writer of Thriller, and singer Mica Paris performs at the Jazz Cafe on Oct. 25, 2013 in London, England. 

Rod Temperton, who died last week at age 66, might be best known for writing Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You” and “Thriller,” but he also notched smashes for artists like Patti Austin, George Benson, Michael McDonald and Donna Summer.

His biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit, as a songwriter, is “Baby, Come to Me,” by Patti Austin with James Ingram (see chart, and methodology, below). The track is one of two No. 1 hits written by Temperton, and it spent two weeks at No. 1 in 1983. 

The track’s success is owed to its use in the then-red-hot ABC TV soap opera General Hospital. The single was originally released in early 1982 and initially peaked at No. 73. Later that year, General Hospital used the song as a theme for its wildly popular characters Luke and Laura. “Baby, Come to Me” was then reissued as a single in tandem with its use on the soap opera, and the song sailed to No. 1 on Feb. 19, 1983.

"Baby, Come to Me" spent a lengthy 32 weeks on the weekly Hot 100 chart, the seventh-most weeks on the chart in the 1980s.

Temperton’s second-biggest hit on the Hot 100 is “Rock With You,” performed by Michael Jackson. The track was the second single, and second No. 1, from Jackson’s Off the Wall album. “Rock With You” ruled the Hot 100 chart for four weeks, beginning Jan. 19, 1980. Temperton would also pen Off the Wall’s title track, which ranks at No. 10 on his biggest hits list.

A curious entry among Temperton’s top 10 is LL Cool J’s “Hey Lover” at No. 4. The track, which peaked at No. 3 on the weekly Hot 100 in 1995, sampled the Temperton-penned “The Lady in My Life” (from Jackson’s Thriller album).

Rod Temperton's Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 Hits:
Rank, Title, Artist, Peak Position, Peak Date
1, "Baby, Come to Me," Patti Austin with James Ingram, No. 1 (two weeks), Feb. 19, 1983
2, "Rock With You," Michael Jackson, No. 1 (four weeks), Jan. 19, 1980
3, "Boogie Nights," Heatwave, No. 2, Nov. 12, 1977
4, "Hey Lover," LL Cool J, No. 3, Dec. 2, 1995
5, "Thriller," Michael Jackson, No. 4, March 3, 1984
6, "Give Me the Night," George Benson, No. 4, Sept. 27, 1980
7, "Sweet Freedom," Michael McDonald, No. 7, Aug. 30, 1986
8, "The Groove Line," Heatwave, No. 7, July 15, 1978
9, "Stomp!," The Brothers Johnson, No. 7, May 24, 1980
10, "Off the Wall," Michael Jackson, No. 10, April 12, 1980

Rod Temperton’s top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits chart is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100, through the Oct. 15, 2016, ranking. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, certain eras are weighted to account for different chart turnover rates over various periods.