Album: Always & Forever
The 1977 top five hit Boogie Nights was the biggest hit for Heatwave. Heatwave was not only multi-racial but multi-national. Lead singer Johnnie Wilder Jr. is from Dayton, OH. He was in the US Army stationed in Germany. When he was discharged, he decided to remain in Europe and sang in clubs. Then he moved to England and met keyboard player Rod Temperton through a newspaper ad. Wilder brought over his brother Keith Wilder from the US. Other band members were Mario Mantese on bass, Ernest Berger on drums and Eric Johns and Roy Carter on guitar. All were from different countries. Heatwave signed with GTO Records in England and Epic Records in the US and worked with pop singer turned producer Barry Blue. Boogie Nights was Heatwave's third single and it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was a huge worldwide hit especially in dance clubs. Rod Temperton wrote Boogie Nights and plenty of other Heatwave songs. Heatwave's other big hits were Always and Forever and The Groove Line. You can get them on this budget comp. Johns left and was replaced by Billy Jones. But the big blow was when Temperton left to produce Michael Jackson. He became one of the top producers of the 80s. Then Mantese was stabbed and unable to continue and then Johnnie Wilder Jr. was paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident. He would continue to work with Heatwave in the studio but couldn't tour. They hired future Commodore JD Nicholas to sing on tour. These unfortunate events caused Heatwave to fade and they disbanded when Nicholas left in 1983. Keith Wilder reformed Heatwave in 1988. He was the only original member. Johnnie Wilder Jr. recorded a couple of gospel albums. He died in 2006. The new version of Heatwave recorded a couple of albums and toured. It looks like they stopped touring around 2002. Here's Heatwave performing Boogie Nights on Top of the Pops 1977.