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 Post subject: Heatwave
 Post Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:24 pm 
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HEATWAVE

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Completely cosmopolitan with international grooves to spare, Heatwave emerged as one of the disco era's funkiest dance groups. American serviceman brothers Johnnie Wilder and his brother Keith Wilder were based in Germany when they first began performing, and upon their discharge from the Army, the duo stayed in that country. Both singers, the pair gigged in clubs and bars with an assortment of bands while still enlisted. However, they were constantly looking to expand their horizons, and in mid-year they relocated to the U.K. to link up with songwriter/keyboardist Rod Temperton.

The nascent Heatwave quickly came together with the addition of Spanish bassist Mario Mantese, Czechoslovakian drummer Emest Berger, and American guitarists Jesse Whittens and Eric Johns. With so many musical roots between them, it was only natural that they rapidly developed a sophisticated sound, an edge which Temperton would use to push Heatwave ahead of their peers.

Jamming and ceaselessly touring the London club circuit allowed Heatwave to define and refine their music, eschewing straight disco beats for a sound that certainly contained that element, but fused it with a rich funk groove. That hard work paid off as the band signed to U.K. label GTO (Epic in the U.S) and began formulating their first album in fall 1976. They were paired in the studio with GTO house producer/session guitarist Barry Blue, who'd had his own string of hit singles, "Dancing on a Saturday Night" and "Do You Wanna Dance" among them in the early '70s.

The recording sessions nearly derailed, however, when Whittens was murdered before the band had even entered the studio. He was replaced with rhythm guitarist Roy Carter, and a pair of singles, "Ain't No Half Steppin'" and "Super Soul Sister," appeared before the end of 1976, to be followed by January 1977's anthemic "Boogie Nights."

That single reached number two on the British pop charts (it wouldn't appear on the American radar until later that summer, when it became a Top Five hit). The group's long-awaited debut album, Too Hot to Handle, finally appeared in late spring 1977, giving Heatwave a number 11 hit in the U.S. It cruised to number five on the R&B charts, while the next single, the sweet soul ballad "Always and Forever," closed out the year with a number two U.S. hit in December.

Again using Blue's production skills, Heatwave released Central Heating in April 1978. The album rode firmly on the tails of its massive single, the classic "The Groove Line," a hard-hitting dance groove that rocketed up the charts, leaving the album's other single, the beautiful ballad "Mind Blowing Decisions," gasping for air in its wake.

Although their star power seemed unstoppable, Heatwave were to take some hard knocks in 1978, as first Johns, then 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 heaviest hitters, 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 two songs, "Rock with You" and "Off the Wall," for Jackson's 1979 Off the Wall LP. He then returned to Jackson's camp in 1982 with three songs for the Thriller LP, including the seminal title track.

Shaken but undaunted by recent events, Heatwave was about to return to the studio, only to be dealt another blow as Mantese suffered horrific injuries in an auto accident. He too had no alternative but to leave the band and was replaced with Derek Bramble. Adding guitarist William Jones and keyboardist Calvin Duke to the group, and now working with new producer Phil Ramone, Heatwave cut Hot Property.

Released in May 1979, with nine of the ten songs penned by Temperton, the album unexpectedly foundered, despite its strong mix of ballads, soul scorchers, and classic funk grooves, ultimately hovering just inside the U.S. Top 40. Of the album's singles, "Therm Warfare," "Razzle Dazzle," "One Night Tan," and "Eyeballin'" all failed to raise the roof, with only the latter even bothering the R&B Top 30.

Soon after, Heatwave received another dismal blow as Carter left to carve his own path as a producer, ultimately having major success with Linx in the early '80s. He was replaced by keyboardist Keith Harrison, but just as it seemed that the band might finally put their shakeups behind them, founder Johnnie Wilder was himself involved a terrible car crash. Although he survived the accident, he was paralyzed from the neck down.

Determined to continue working with the band he'd 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. The group recruited James Dean "JD" Nichols to handle vocals in concert.

Heatwave's spotlight seemed to be waning, though, as the November single "Gangsters of the Groove" proved their last pop hit, reaching number 21 in the U.S. and pulling in a surprisingly impressive number 20 in the U.K. early in the new year. But the album peaked at a mere number 71 U.S. in December 1980, bringing a tumultuous time to a somewhat disappointing close. Two further singles, "Jitterbuggin'" and "Where Did I Go Wrong," charted the following year, while both "Posin' til Closin'" and "Turn Around" fared even worse.

Heatwave's 1982 LP, Current, marked yet another new era for the band as they returned to producer Barry Blue. The album managed only a desultory number 156 on the U.S. pop charts, although it scored the band a number 21 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. However, it also sounded a death knell for the group.

Bramble quit the band at the end of 1982, like Carter, for a career in production (he would go on to work with David Bowie on 1984's Tonight LP, and later masterminded Jaki Graham's breakthrough). Nichols, too, decamped to fill Lionel Richie's shoes in the Commodores. At the end of a staggering series of departures, the remaining members of Heatwave essentially brought down the curtain -- the band was rendered inactive, and for all intents disbanded.

Silent since early 1983, the Wilder brothers resurfaced in 1989 with the album Sound of Soul on Blatent. The following year, 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 U.K and, by the middle of the decade, Keith Wilder had re-formed 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, Live at the Greek Theater, 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

DISOCRAPHY

Ain't No Half Steppin' (7") GTO 1976
Boogie Nights (7") GTO 1976
Boogie Nights (12") Epic 1976
Boogie Nights (12", Promo) Epic 1976
Boogie Nights (7") Epic 1976
Boogie Nights (7") GTO 1976
Boogie Nights (7") GTO 1976
Boogie Nights / Too Hot To Handle (12", Promo) Epic 1976
Too Hot To Handle (LP, Album) GTO 1976
Too Hot To Handle (LP, Album) Epic 1976
Too Hot To Handle (LP) GTO 1976
Too Hot To Handle (LP) Epic 1976
Too Hot To Handle (LP, Album) Epic 1976
Always And Forever / Mind Blowing Decisions (7") GTO 1977
Always And Forever / Super Soul Sister (7") Epic 1977
Boogie Nights / Always And Forever (7") Epic 1977
Central Heating (LP) GTO 1977
Central Heating (LP, Album) GTO 1977
Central Heating (LP) Polydor 1977
Central Heating (LP, Album) GTO 1977
Central Heating (LP) GTO 1977
The Groove Line (7") GTO 1977
The Groove Line (7") GTO, Polydor 1977
Too Hot To Handle (7") GTO 1977
Ain't No Half Steppin' / Mind Blowing Decisions (12") Epic 1978
Always And Forever / Mind Blowing Decisions (12") GTO 1978
Always And Forever / The Groove Line (12", RE) Epic 1978
Always And Forever / The Groove Line (12") Epic 1978
Central Heating (LP, Album) Epic 1978
Mind Blowing Decisions (7") GTO 1978
Mind Blowing Decisons / Ain't No Half Steppin' (12", Promo) Epic 1978
The Groove Line / Always And Forever (12") Epic 1978
The Groove Line / Happiness Togetherness (7") Epic 1978
Birthday (12") Epic 1979
Birthday / Eyeballin' (7") Epic 1979
Eyeballin' (12", Promo) Epic 1979
Hot Property (LP) GTO 1979
Hot Property (12") GTO 1979
Hot Property (LP, Album) Epic 1979
Hot Property (LP) Epic 1979
Therm Warfare (12") GTO 1979
Candles (LP) GTO 1980
Candles (LP) Epic 1980
Candles (LP) Epic 1980
Gangsters Of The Groove (12") Epic 1980
Gangsters Of The Groove (7") Epic 1980
Gangsters Of The Groove (12", Promo) Epic 1980
Gangsters Of The Groove (12") GTO 1980
Gangsters Of The Groove (12") Epic 1980
Gangsters Of The Groove (7", Single) GTO 1980
The Groove Line / Gangsters Of The Groove (7") Collectables 1980
Jitterbuggin' (12") GTO 1981
Posin' Til Closin' (12") GTO 1981
Current (LP, Album) Epic 1982
Current (LP, Album) Epic 1982
Lettin' It Loose (12") Epic 1982
Mind What You Find / Lettin' It Loose (12") Epic, GTO 1982
Power Cuts - All Their Hottest Hits (LP) Epic 1982
Boogie Nights (CD, Single, 3-i) Epic 1987
Boogie Nights / The Groove Line (12") Epic 1987
Straight From The Heart (12") Soul City Records 1987
The Fire (LP, Album) Soul City Records, Soul City Records 1988
Gangsters Of The Groove / The Groove Line (12") Old Gold (2) 1989
Boogie Nights / Always And Forever (12") Old Gold (2) 1990
Gangsters Of The Groove (CD) Telstar 1990
Gangsters Of The Groove (LP, Album) Telstar 1990
Gangsters Of The Groove (CD) Blow Up 1990
Mind Blowing Decisions (7", Single) Telstar, The Brothers Organisation 1990
Feel Like Making Love (CD, Maxi, Car) Disky 1991
The Best Of, The 90's Mix (CD, Comp) Ronco 1993
Always & Forever - The Best Of Heatwave (CD, Album) Epic 1996
The Best Of Heatwave - Always And Forever (CD, Comp) Epic 1996
Boogie Nights (12") Skatty Productions 2001
Current (CD, Album, RE) Epic 2001
Grooveline (12") Left Wing Records 2002
Boogie Nights (12", RE) Columbia 2004

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 Post subject: Re: Heatwave
 Post Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:11 am 
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Soul-Boy,

Great writeup - didn't know a quarter of all of this. I do recall several of the songs, but boy what a tragic story with deaths, quits and accidents. Maybe that brought the members even closer and kept them going...
No matter what - no one can take away all the wonderful tracks they released and Rod Temperton is really one of me favorite writers...

THANKS for this wonderful insight !

// Discoguy

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 Post subject: Re: Heatwave
 Post Posted: Wed May 06, 2009 3:31 am 
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Top post Soul-Boy!
Heatwave were the funkiest things onstage....wish I could have seen them live.
Despite all those hurdles .....they still delivered the funk! :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Heatwave
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 12:33 am 
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pflext wrote:
Top post Soul-Boy!
Heatwave were the funkiest things onstage....wish I could have seen them live.
Despite all those hurdles .....they still delivered the funk! :twisted:


Hi Guys!
Congrats on such an excellent article! :mrgreen:

I was privaleged to see Heatwave perform when they were still on the Club circuit, around the time that Boogie Nights was released. Even so early in their career, it was obvious that they were destined to succeed. What I enjoyed most was the fact that there was no stage; they set up their equipment on the Dance floor - What a personal touch, with no distance between them and their audience. They were Awesome!!

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 Post subject: Re: Heatwave
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:04 pm 
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barbarella wrote:
pflext wrote:
Top post Soul-Boy!
Heatwave were the funkiest things onstage....wish I could have seen them live.
Despite all those hurdles .....they still delivered the funk! :twisted:


Hi Guys!
Congrats on such an excellent article! :mrgreen:

I was privaleged to see Heatwave perform when they were still on the Club circuit, around the time that Boogie Nights was released. Even so early in their career, it was obvious that they were destined to succeed. What I enjoyed most was the fact that there was no stage; they set up their equipment on the Dance floor - What a personal touch, with no distance between them and their audience. They were Awesome!!


Hi Barbraella,

Welcome to the site, glad you liked the mini-bio on Heatwave.
Stick around and take your time to explore this wonderful site. Your contributions are most welcome here!

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 Post subject: Re: Heatwave
 Post Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:05 am 
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Discoguy - fully agree, Temperton is an absolute magician! soooo much funk in one man!

Another great article soul-boy! Did you ever see them live? What were they like?

Thanks for sharing your experience Barberella, with no stage I'm guessing it was a very intimate gig?

Having not been born until 1986, I only learnt about them retrospectively through my dad.

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 Post subject: Re: Heatwave
 Post Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:43 pm 
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Hey Soul Boy!
I was just reading through the list of Heatwave's releases, and I noticed that I have one which has not been mentioned. This is "Razzle Dazzle" on GTO records,released in '79 I think. :D

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