“Darkness falls across the land. The midnight hour is close at hand.”
It’s always been kind of a bummer to me that writers often get left out in the cold, and the iconic song Thriller is a great example of what I mean. You know that it’s a Michael Jackson song, you know that John Landis directed the music video, and you probably even know that Rick Baker did the makeup effects for that video.
But do you know who wrote Thriller? That’d be Rod Temperton, who passed away just last year. Temperton wrote three songs on Jackson’s Thriller album, including the title track; his life and career are the subject of Jed Pitman’s forthcoming book The Invisible Man: The Story of Rod Temperton, being released on September 1.
Promoting the book, New York Post published a few quotes from Pitman today, revealing a really interesting little fun fact about Thriller. Of course, Vincent Price provided the voice-over narration for Thriller, but what you definitely did not know is that Temperton’s personal choice was Elvira, Mistress of the Dark!
From the site…
“During his research, Pitman found that Temperton was usually meticulous about his work. “He had all the parts in his head,” Pitman told The Post. “He knew exactly what he wanted, and how to get there.” But recording the iconic “Thriller” monologue was unusually slapdash.”
“Working with Quincy Jones, Temperton initially suggested Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (of the TV show “Fright Night,” originally), to record the spooky spoken-word part. But Jones suggested Price, who was a friend of his wife’s.”
Price proved to be the perfect person for the job, nailing it in just two takes.
And the rest is history.