Sunday, April 15, 2012
A Taste Of Heatwave Comes to Boogie
Heatwave was an international funk/disco musical band featuring Americans Johnnie Wilder, Jr. and Keith Wilder (vocals) of Dayton, Ohio, Englishman Rod Temperton (keyboards), Swiss Mario Mantese (bass), Czechoslovak Ernest "Bilbo" Berger (drums), Jamaican Eric Johns (guitar) and Briton Roy Carter (guitar).
They were known for their successful songs "Boogie Nights" and "Always and Forever" (from their 1976 debut album, Too Hot to Handle), and "The Groove Line" (from their 1978 follow-up album, Central Heating).
Founder member Johnnie Wilder was an American serviceman based in West Germany when he first began performing, upon his discharge from the U.S. Army, he stayed in Germany. He sang in nightclubs and taverns with an assortment of bands while still enlisted. By mid-year, he decided to relocate to the United Kingdom and through an ad placed in a local paper he linked up with songwriter/keyboardist Rod Temperton.
Touring the London nightclub circuit billed as Chicago's Heatwave during the mid-1970s allowed them to refine their sound, adding a funk groove to disco beats. In search of a fuller sound vocally, Johnnie Wilder called upon his brother Keith Wilder (who was performing in a local band in Dayton, Ohio) to join the band on vocals. The group signed to GTO Records in 1976 (Epic Records would handle GTO's releases in the states). 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 killed in a stabbing incident. They began creating their first album Too Hot to Handle in the fall of 1976.
Their third single, "Boogie Nights" from their debut album, in 1977 reached #2 on the British popular music charts in January and in America in November. The group's debut album, Too Hot to Handle, was released in the spring of 1977, giving Heatwave a #11 on the Hot 200 and #5 on the R&B charts, while the next single, the soul ballad "Always and Forever", reached #18 on the Hot 100 in April 1978 and #2 on the R&B charts.
Continuing to use Barry Blue's production skills, Heatwave released their second album Central Heating in April 1978. Lead single "The Groove Line," reached #7 on the Hot 100 in July 1978.
During the late 1970s the band changed. 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 soon 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 Epic debut 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. There's more on Heatwave here!
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