The Man Who Wrote Thriller Lyric Blog
Our old drummer Greenie has got such a tremendous knowledge of music history and would always have great random facts and one he mentioned was that Rod Temperton – this really unassuming fantastic songwriter who wrote Thriller – came from Cleethorpes. I love this mental image as it defeats the picture in your head about the composition of that song. Plus he wasn’t someone you had heard of unless you wanted to – it wasn’t his bag, he just wrote songs – no bluster or bullshit. So I had this idea in my head.
Sometimes when we write songs I am in quite a dark place – I don’t know why as I am quite a happy person but this song is a mixture of the two mindsets. I love the implausibility of life sometimes as it can give you great confidence – if you can be truly confused by a situation then there is no point worrying about factors that you can’t control, you just need to deal with what is in front of you and not get disheartened or carried away with yourself. Haha, you know what is daft though – most people don’t need to ruminate about this, they just know it. I need Rod Temperton’s story to teach me about it. What a dafty.
I think this song is as true to the contents of my head as any song (except maybe Little Italy): it is me. We were writing it and the line came out of me (after the dark chords resolve) and Mickey was like “eh? What are you on about?”. I dismissed it for a bit as being too crazy a line: I mean firstly, he DOESN’T live in Scarborough (at the time of writing the song Rod Temperton was still alive which was another weird aspect of the song which was finished and mixed almost on the same day of his death) and I DON’T KNOW if he has a dog or has ever been to Whitby – but I thought it was ok to embellish massively because the image fitted perfectly what I wanted to say…
When Mickey left me in the studio one day I did a demo of it with a keyboard and LOADS of harmonies and we both thought I had lost my mind but after a couple of days it had stuck and we knew it would be on the album.
Recording it was hard as we had to cut a lot of things from it to make room for drums and other sounds – peeling back the vocal layers was tough and it had a 30 second spoken word section which was just really crap haha – but I think sometimes you need to go there to come back in.
I think again, the accidental addendums really make the song – there is a transposed vocal part which sounds like a synth and an ad lib (haha ad lib, as if I do ad libs….) at the end that goes “I don’t want to go” and I think at the time I really was sad about the idea of dying (as infantile as that sounds) or life moving forward – sometimes (especially as William grows up) I just want to pause time.
The whole process with this song was fluid, we never hit a wall with it – it just had flow and I think for that reason it is the one that I have the biggest soft spot for. It also has the air of total irreverence which is where I really am with song writing…. I just don’t mind if anyone likes it or not…
So daft that I nearly reacted to the people with the manifold action who don’t see life as a body of water so please bless me with a son or a daughter.
It is that complicated, simple and nonsensical all at the same time.
Picture the instant
When it dawns in your mind
That the things that you wanted
Were never so kind
How will you react
To this seminal moment?
To be down like a soldier
Left to pick all the fights
So many nights,
When I’m wound up so tight
I just cling to the thoughts
That the man who wrote thriller
Lives in Scarborough
With his dog,
Getting on with his life
There’s hope in my bones
(My emotions will not tire)
While the man who wrote thriller
Lives in Scarborough
Those several moments
That threaten to
Define your life completely
They devour like chips
From a cheap foam cup
On a beach in Whitby
If I ever get majestical
And grow perfunctory eyes
Just wind in my neck
And hope that I will be wise.
So daft that I nearly reacted to
The people with the manifold action
Who don’t see life as a body of water
So please bless me with a son or a daughter.