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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hump Day Slow Jam of the Week: Heatwave, "Always and Forever"

Posted By on Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 3:59 PM

The Singers: Heatwave was helmed by brothers Keith Wilder and Johnnie Wilder, Jr., but the band's secret weapon was organist and songwriter Rod Temperton. The Englishman wrote all the songs on Heatwave's debut LP, including today's slow jam, but Temperton racked up a massive amount of songwriting credits after leaving Heatwave. According to his Wikipedia entry, he wrote or co-wrote songs such as Michael Jackson's "Thriller," Michael McDonald and James Ingram's "Ya Mo Be There" and George Benson's "Give Me the Night." 
 

The Song: Driven by slow, deliberate organ chords and jazzy guitar strokes, "Always and Forever" has the perfect tempo and temperament for a slow dance. The Brothers Wilder stack their harmonies as the chorus approaches, giving a kick to the steady pulse from the rhythm section. (Special thanks to former RFT Music Editor Jordan Harper for today's request.)

The Video: Taken from a live television performance, this clip for "Always and Forever" is notable for several reasons. The band's matching uniforms, a regular sartorial choice for '70s soul bands, are particularly bad-ass; note the bedazzled "HEATWAVE" running down the leg of the trousers. Organist and songwriter Temperton, looking mousy and slightly out of place, gets a shout-out before the song kicks in, but it's singer Johnnie Wilder, Jr., who steals the show with his falsetto at the song's coda. 

Hipster Cachet: Luther Vandross, the patron saint of slow jams, took a swing at "Always and Forever" in 1995. A clip from Top of the Pops is below:


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