Today in Music History (May 30): Heatwave issues its iconic "Too Hot To Handle" album

May 30, 1977 – Heatwave released debut album Too Hot To Handle in America

Though its time in the spotlight was relatively short, Heatwave remains one of the most beloved groups of the 1970s.  That the members even made it as far and as long as they did was the result of an amazing ability to overcome even the most horrific obstacles, including the death of one member and two incidents that left other members paralyzed or severely injured.

Heatwave was formed in the early 70s by a group of U.S. servicemen stationed in Germany.  The band went though various changes in personnel and finally settled in England as a septet featuring vocalist brothers Johnny and Keith Wilder and keyboardist/songwriter Rod Temperton.  It became the first true international dance group, with members from the U.S, England, Czechoslovakia and Spain .   

May 30, 1977 – Heatwave released debut album Too Hot To Handle in America

Though its time in the spotlight was relatively short, Heatwave remains one of the most beloved groups of the 1970s.  That the members even made it as far and as long as they did was the result of an amazing ability to overcome even the most horrific obstacles, including the death of one member and two incidents that left other members paralyzed or severely injured.

Heatwave was formed in the early 70s by a group of U.S. servicemen stationed in Germany.  The band went though various changes in personnel and finally settled in England as a septet featuring vocalist brothers Johnny and Keith Wilder and keyboardist/songwriter Rod Temperton.  It became the first true international dance group, with members from the U.S, England, Czechoslovakia and Spain .   

After gaining a strong following in Europe as a result of its energetic, often acrobatic shows, Heatwave was finally signed began recording its first album in 1976.  In the first of many tragedies the group would face, guitarist Jesse Whittens was killed.  He was replaced and the group finished the album. While it wasn’t entirely clear to record company executives, there was something special in this group, with fantastic musicians, the energy and vocal prowess of the Wilder Brothers, and a secret weapon: Rod Temperton, who would become perhaps the most celebrated songwriter of the next decade through his work with Michael Jackson, The Brothers Johnson, George Benson, James Ingram and many, many more acts.

After a couple of cuts were released from the album in Europe, leading to a modestly successful album release there, the album's lead single, "Boogie Nights," was issued and became an international #1 hit and one of the definitive songs of the disco era.  It opened up demand for the full album, which was released in the U.S. on May 30, 1977 to both critical and popular acclaim as one of the freshest new sounds in R&B and dance. “Boogie Nights” was followed with the equally memorable ballad, "Always and Forever," which became a blue-lights-in-the-basement classic. 

Too Hot introduced the world to the funky, full beats that would become a Heatwave trademark, as well as to the songwriting of Rod Temperton, who developed into one of the most important songwriters of the next decade. 

Heatwave went on to more hit songs, but also more tragedy, particularly the stabbing of bass guitarist Mario Mantese and the tragic auto accident of Johnny Wilder that ultimately left him paralyzed from the neck down. Both these events prematurely ended Heatwave’s run, but not their historical contribution to music, which was set in stone on this day in 1977.

Check out Too Hot To Handle below, and remember this all-time great group.

By Chris Rizik

 
Featured Album - Michael Mayo - Bones
Choice Cut - Ascendant feat. Angela Johnson - "It's Not Over"
Song of the Month - Ty Causey feat. Monet Cherise - "U-Turn"
Album of the Month - Derrick "Doc" Pearson - A Family Man

Leave a comment!