Heatwave (band)


Heatwave (band)

Heatwave was an international Rhythm and blues/Funk band featuring Americans Johnnie Wilder, Jr. and Keith Wilder (vocals) of Dayton, Ohio, Englishman Rod Temperton (keyboards), Spaniard Mario Mantese (bass), Czechoslovakian Ernest "Bilbo" Berger (drums), Jamaican Eric Johns (guitar) and Briton Roy Carter (guitar).

They were known for their hits "Boogie Nights" and "Always and Forever" (from their 1977 debut album, "Too Hot to Handle"), and "The Groove Line" (from their 1978 follow-up album, "Central Heating").

Heatwave's mainstream years

Founder members Johnnie Wilder and his brother Keith Wilder were American servicemen based in West Germany when they first began performing, and upon their discharge from the U.S. Army, the duo stayed in Germany. The brothers sang in clubs and bars with an assortment of bands while still enlisted. By mid-year, the duo decided to relocate to the United Kingdom to link up with songwriter/keyboardist Rod Temperton.

Touring the London club circuit during the mid-1970s allowed Heatwave to refine their sound, adding a funk groove to disco beats. The group signed to GTO (Epic Records) in 1976. They were paired in the studio with GTO house producer/session guitarist Barry Blue and rhythm guitarist Jesse Whitten. Rhythm guitarist Roy Carter replaced Whitten after Whitten was stabbed to death in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. They began creating their first album "Too Hot to Handle" in the fall of 1976.

In 1977 their first single, "Boogie Nights" from their debut album, reached number two on the British pop charts in January, and also became a number 2 hit in America in November. The group's debut album, "Too Hot to Handle", finally appeared in late-spring 1977, giving Heatwave a number eleven hit in the U.S. - reaching number five on the R&B charts, while the next single, the soul ballad "Always and Forever", closed out the year with a number two U.S. R&B hit and #18 pop hit in December.

Continuing to use Barry Blue's production skills, Heatwave released their second album "Central Heating" in April 1978. Lead single "The Groove Line," reached number seven in the charts.

The late-1970s saw the band going through changes, at first Eric Johns quit the band and Billy Jones was his replacement as guitarist. Then Rod Temperton quit the band. Although Temperton would continue writing new songs for Heatwave, he swiftly became better-known for his songwriting for other artists, penning award-winning songs for some of funk's biggest names, including Rufus and The Brothers Johnson. He also wrote for Herbie Hancock and Quincy Jones, but his most famous partnership remains the one forged with Michael Jackson, writing three songs for his 1979 debut solo album "Off The Wall" - "Rock With You," "Off The Wall" and "Burn This Disco Out", and three songs for the 1982 "Thriller" LP, including the title track.

Despite these changes Heatwave were about to return to the studio, only to be dealt another blow, as Mantese was involved in a car accident, which forced him to leave the group. Mantese was replaced by bassist Derek Bramble. Adding keyboardist Calvin Duke to the group, and now working with new producer Phil Ramone, Heatwave cut "Hot Property", released in May 1979.

During the spring of 1979, lead-vocalist and songwriter Johnnie Wilder, Jr., also suffered injuries in an auto accident while visiting family and friends in Dayton, Ohio. Although he survived, the accident left him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to continue performing with the group. After the accident, Johnnie remained a co-producer of the group, along with Blue.

Determined to continue working with the band he had nurtured since the very beginning, Wilder remained on board for studio work and, in 1980, Heatwave recorded the "Candles" LP, with Temperton again providing the songs, except stand out track "All I Am", written by Blue's former writing partner Lynsey De Paul. The group recruited James Dean "J.D." Nicholas to handle vocals in concert.

Heatwave's popularity was on the wane though, as the November single "Gangsters of the Groove" proved to be their last pop hit, reaching number twenty-one in the U.S., and number twenty in the United Kingdom early in the New Year. But the album peaked at a mere number seventy-one in the United States in December 1980.

Heatwave's 1982 LP, "Current", marked yet another new era for the band, as they returned to producer Blue. The album managed only number 156 on the U.S. Billboard 200, although it scored the band a number twenty-one hit on the R&B charts, where Heatwave continued to be a strong presence. A Rod Temperton penned single, "Lettin' It Loose," proved a minor hit in August.

The post-Heatwave years

Derek Bramble quit the band at the end of 1982, like Roy Carter, for a career in production (he would go on to work with David Bowie on 1984s "Tonight" LP, and later masterminded Jaki Graham's breakthrough). J.D. Nicholas left to fill Lionel Richie's shoes as the lead singer of the Commodores. After this long series of departures, the remaining members of Heatwave effectively disbanded.

Silent since early 1983, the Wilder brothers resurfaced in 1989 with the gospel album, "Sound of Soul". In 1988, Johnnie Wilder released a solo spiritual album "My Goals on Light". Neither sold well, but Heatwave itself was revitalized in 1991, when a remix version of their "Mind Blowing Decisions" charted in the UK. By the middle of the 1990s, Keith Wilder had reformed the band. Joined by bassist Dave Williamson, keyboardists Kevin Sutherland and Byron Byrd and guitarist Bill Jones, the reborn Heatwave launched an American tour with a live album recorded at the Greek Theater in Hollywood, arriving in 1997.

Long standing favorites of the retro dance circuit, Heatwave fans were also treated to a new extended club remix of "Boogie Nights" in 2002. Keith Wilder is the lead singer of the current lineup (and the only remaining original member).

US (Billboard Magazine) & UK Chart Placings, RIAA & BPI Certifications

Albums

*"Too Hot To Handle" (Epic/GTO, 1976): #11 Billboard Top LPs & Tapes (45 week chart run), #5 Billboard Top Soul Albums, #46 UK Albums Chart (2 week chart run)
**RIAA: certified Gold (500,000 units sold) on 10/10/1977, certified Platinum (1,000,000 units sold) on 12/22/1977
**BPI: certified Silver (60,000 units sold) on 12/07/1978

*"Central Heating" (Epic/GTO, 1977): #10 Billboard Top LPs & Tapes (26 week chart run), #2 Billboard Top Soul Albums, #26 UK Albums Chart (15 week chart run)
**RIAA: certified Gold (500,000 units sold) on 04/10/1978, certified Platinum (1,000,000 units sold) on 06/21/1978
**BPI: certified Silver (60,000 units sold) on 06/29/1979

*"Hot Property" (Epic/GTO, 1979): #38 Billboard Top LPs & Tapes (14 week chart run), #16 Billboard Top Soul Albums
**RIAA: certified Gold (500,000 units sold) on 07/20/1977

*"Candles" (Epic/GTO, 1980): #71 Billboard Top LPs & Tapes (10 week chart run), #24 Billboard Top Soul Albums, #29 UK Albums Chart (9 week chart run)
**RIAA: sales level of over 500,000 units (non-certified)

*"Current" (Epic/GTO, 1982): #156 Billboard Top LPs & Tapes (6 week chart run), #21 Billboard Top Soul Albums
**RIAA: sales level of over 500,000 units (non-certified)

ingles

*"Boogie Nights / All You Do Is Dial" (Epic/GTO, 1976): #2 Billboard Hot 100 (27 week chart run), #5 Billboard Hot Soul Singles, #36 Billboard Disco Action, #2 UK Singles Chart (14 week chart run)
**RIAA: certified Gold (1,000,000 units sold) on 10/17/1977, certified Platinum (2,000,000 units sold) on 12/22/1977
**BPI: certified Silver (200,000 units sold) on 02/01/1977

*"Too Hot To Handle / Slip Your Disc To This" (Epic/GTO, 1976): #15 UK Singles Chart (11 week chart run)
*"Always And Forever / Super Soul Sister" (Epic/GTO, 1976): #18 Billboard Hot 100 (20 week chart run), #2 Billboard Hot Soul Singles, #9 UK Singles Chart (14 week chart run)
**RIAA: certified Gold (1,000,000 units sold) on 03/17/1978, certified 2x Platinum (2,000,000 units sold) on 09/06/2001
**BPI: certified Silver (200,000 units sold) on 12/01/1978

*"Mind Blowing Decisions / Beat Your Booty" (Epic/GTO, 1977): #49 Billboard Hot Soul Singles, #12 UK Singles Chart (13 week chart run)
**RIAA: sales level of over 500,000 units (non-certified)

*"The Groove Line / Happiness Together" (Epic/GTO, 1977): #7 Billboard Hot 100 (17 week chart run), #3 Billboard Hot Soul Singles, #12 UK Singles Chart (8 week chart run)
**RIAA: certified Gold (1,000,000 units sold) on 07/17/1978, certified 2x Platinum (2,000,000 units sold) on 09/06/2001

*"Eyeballin' / Birthday" (Epic/GTO, 1979): #30 Billboard Hot Soul Singles
*"Razzle Dazzle" (Epic/GTO, 1979): #43 UK Singles Chart (5 week chart run)
*"Gangsters Of The Groove / Find Someone Like You" (Epic/GTO, 1980): #110 Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (1 week chart run), #21 Billboard Hot Soul Singles, #74 Billboard Disco Action, #19 UK Singles Chart (8 week chart run)
*"Where Did I Go Wrong / Dreamin' You" (Epic/GTO, 1980): #74 Billboard Hot Soul Singles
*"Jitterbuggin'" (Epic/GTO, 1980): #34 UK Singles Chart (7 week chart run)
*"Lettin' It Loose / Mind What You Find" (Epic/GTO, 1982): #54 Billboard Hot Soul Singles

*Note: Up until the RIAA lowered the sales levels for certified singles in 1989, a Gold single equaled 1 million units sold, and a Platinum single equaled 2 million units sold. Therefore, a single certified Gold before 1989 would be the equivalent of a single certified Platinum after 1989, and a single certified Platinum before 1989 would be the equivalent of a 2x Platinum single today.

References

*Guinness Book of British Hit Singles 7th Edition - 1988
*http://www.delafont.com/music_acts/heatwave.htm
*http://heatwave72.com/bio.htm
*http://www.riaa.com/
*http://www.bpi.co.uk/index.asp
*http://www.ukmix.org/

External links

* [http://www.heatwave72.com/ Heatwave Official Website]
* [http://www.soultracks.com/heatwave.htm SoulTracks.com profile of Heatwave]


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