The R&B/funk band Heatwave scored big in the disco era with danceable smashes like “Boogie Nights” and “The Groove Line”. They could also do smooth ballads like “Always and Forever”.
• Heatwave was formed by Ohio native Johnnie Wilder, who put together a group after serving in the US Army in West Germany. He eventually relocated the band to England and built a lineup that included keyboardist Rod Temperton and his brother Keith Wilder as second vocalist.
• Their 1977 debut album, Too Hot to Handle, yielded the No. 2 pop hit “Boogie Nights” and the Top 20 ballad “Always and Forever”. Both songs went Top 5 on the R&B chart.
• Both Too Hot to Handle and the group’s sophomore LP, 1978’s Central Heating, went platinum. Temperton left the group soon after but continued writing material for them. He also penned hits for other artists, including Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You” and “Off the Wall”.
• In 1979, Johnnie Wilder was paralyzed from the neck down in an auto accident. Despite his injuries, he recorded vocals for the group’s fourth and fifth albums, Candles (1980) and Current (1982).
• Their last notable hit came with 1980’s “Gangsters of the Groove”, which peaked at No. 21 on the R&B chart.
• After some time apart, a new version of the band returned with 1988’s The Fire, featuring Keith Wilder on lead vocals.
• Johnnie died in 2006 at the age of 56, followed by Keith in 2017 at age 65.