The British singer-songwriter is back with his fourth studio album, “Heatwave”. What makes this album different from the rest?
The heatwave songs are a popular English pop band that was formed in the 1980s. They have released three albums, one of which reached number 1 on the UK Albums Chart.
Heatwave developed as one of the disco era’s funkiest dance groups, completely cosmopolitan with plenty of foreign rhythms. When American serviceman brothers Johnnie and Keith Wilder first started performing, they were stationed in Germany, and after their release from the Army, they remained there. While still enlisted, the duo performed in clubs and pubs with a variety of bands. They were, however, always seeking to broaden their horizons, and in the middle of the year, they moved to the United Kingdom to work with songwriter/keyboardist Rod Temperton.
With the inclusion of Spanish bassist Mario Mantese, Czechoslovakian drummer Emest Berger, and American guitarists Jesse Whittens and Eric Johns, the embryonic Heatwave rapidly came together. With so many musical origins between them, it was only inevitable that they created a complex sound quickly, an advantage that Temperton would exploit to propel Heatwave ahead of its competitors.
Heatwave defined and refined their music by jamming and traveling the London club scene nonstop, rejecting pure disco rhythms in favor of a sound that retained that aspect but blended it with a deep funk groove. In the autumn of 1976, the band signed to the UK label GTO (Epic in the US) and started working on their debut album. They worked in the studio with GTO house producer/session guitarist Barry Blue, who had a series of success songs in the early 1970s, including “Dancing on a Saturday Night” and “Do You Wanna Dance.”
Whittens was assassinated before the band had even reached the studio, putting the recording efforts in jeopardy. He was replaced by rhythm guitarist Roy Carter, and the band released two singles, “Ain’t No Half Steppin’” and “Super Soul Sister,” before the end of 1976, followed by the epic “Boogie Nights” in January 1977.
That song charted at number two in the United Kingdom (it didn’t chart in the United States until later that summer, when it was a Top Five success). Heatwave’s long-awaited first album, Too Hot to Handle, was released in late spring 1977 and charted at number 11 in the United States. It reached number five on the R&B charts, while the next song, the beautiful soul ballad “Always and Forever,” achieved number two in the United States in December.
Heatwave released Central Heating in April 1978, using Blue’s producing talents once again. The album’s other single, the exquisite ballad “Mind Blowing Decisions,” was left gasping for air in the aftermath of its huge single, the legendary “The Groove Line,” a hard-hitting dance groove that raced up the charts.
Despite their overwhelming star power, Heatwave suffered a series of setbacks in 1978, with first Johns and then Temperton leaving the band. Temperton continued to write new songs for Heatwave, but he quickly rose to prominence as a songwriter for other musicians, creating award-winning songs for some of funk’s biggest names, including as Rufus and the Brothers Johnson. He also collaborated with Herbie Hancock and Quincy Jones, but his most well-known collaboration was with Michael Jackson, for whom he composed two songs, “Rock with You” and “Off the Wall,” on Jackson’s Off the Wall LP in 1979. In 1982, he returned to Jackson’s camp with three songs, including the iconic title track, for the Thriller album.
Heatwave was ready to return to the studio, shaken but unfazed by recent events, only to be given another blow when Mantese was stabbed by his lover. For many minutes, he was clinically dead, paralyzed, and had no choice but to quit the band. Derek Bramble took his position. Heatwave recorded Hot Property after adding guitarist William Jones and keyboardist Calvin Duke to the group, and now working with new producer Phil Ramone.
Despite its excellent blend of ballads, soul scorchers, and classic funk rhythms, Temperton’s album, which was released in May 1979 and included nine of the 10 songs written by him, surprisingly floundered, eventually lingering just inside the US Top 40. “Therm Warfare,” “Razzle Dazzle,” “One Night Tan,” and “Eyeballin’,” among the album’s singles, all failed to chart, with only the latter making the R&B Top 30.
Heatwave suffered yet another setback when Carter departed to pursue his own career as a producer, eventually finding great success with Linx in the early 1980s. He was replaced by keyboardist Keith Harrison, but just as it seemed like the band was getting back on track, founder Johnnie Wilder was killed in a vehicle accident. He was paralyzed from the neck down after the accident, despite the fact that he lived.
Wilder stayed on board for studio work, and Heatwave recorded the Candles LP in 1980, with Temperton supplying the songs for the second time. In concert, the band enlisted James Dean “JD” Nichols to handle vocals.
Heatwave’s star appeared to be fading when their November song “Gangsters of the Groove” became their last mainstream success, peaking at number 21 in the United States and an unexpectedly high number 20 in the United Kingdom early in the new year. However, the album only reached number 71 in the United States in December 1980, bringing a turbulent period to a dismal end. The next year, two more songs, “Jitterbuggin’” and “Where Did I Go Wrong,” charted, but “Posin’ til Closin’” and “Turn Around” did even worse.
Current, Heatwave’s 1982 album, heralded the start of a new era for the band, as they reunited with producer Barry Blue. The album only charted at number 156 in the United States, but it did land the band a number 21 success on the R&B charts, where Heatwave remained a significant presence. “Lettin’ It Loose,” a Rod Temperton-penned song, was a modest success in August. It did, however, ring the death knell for the organization.
Bramble, like Carter, left the band at the end of 1982 to pursue a career in producing (he would subsequently collaborate with David Bowie on the Tonight LP in 1984 and mastermind Jaki Graham’s breakthrough). Nichols, too, left the Commodores to fill Lionel Richie’s shoes. The surviving members of Heatwave effectively pulled down the curtain, rendering the band inactive and for all intents and purposes dissolved, at the conclusion of a stunning sequence of departures.
The Wilder brothers reappeared in 1989 with the album Sound of Soul on Blatent, after being silent since early 1983. My Goals, a solo spiritual album by Johnnie Wilder, was released on Light the next year. Heatwave was revived in 1991, when a remix version of their “Mind Blowing Decisions” hit in the United Kingdom, and Keith Wilder re-formed the band by the middle of the decade. The resurrected Heatwave, which included bassist Dave Williamson, keyboardists Kevin Sutherland and Byron Byrd, and guitarist Bill Jones, embarked on an American tour in 1997, accompanied by a live CD, Live at the Greek Theater. Heatwave fans were also treated to a new extended club remix of “Boogie Nights” in 2002, which was a long-time favorite of the vintage dance circuit.
The what happened to the lead singer of heatwave is a question that has been posed. Heatwave was a band that was active in the 1980s and 1990s, and they had a lead singer named Rod Temperton. He passed away in 2009.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happened to the original members of Heatwave?
The original members of Heatwave, Richard Blade and Rick James, have been replaced by new members.
Where did the group Heatwave come from?
Heatwave was originally a group of Jamaican musicians, but they are now more known for their hit songs.
Who are the original members of Heatwave?
The original members of Heatwave are Johnny JT Thomas, Robert Bobby Gresham, and Tony Thompson.
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