Google+ Badge BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN COSMOPOLITAN WITH INTERNATIONAL GROOVES TO SPARE, " HEATWAVE " A DANCE GROUP, WITH DISCO AND FUNK DANCE GROUP : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK GENIUS "
BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY 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."
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 involved in a terrible car crash. Although he survived the accident, he was paralyzed from the neck down.
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.
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.