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Yolanda Sangweni
Oct, 31, 2017

Keith Wilder, a vocalist for the celebrated funk band Heatwave, has died. 

Rolling Stone reports that the 65-year-old crooner passed away on Sunday. A cousin, Billy Jones, told Dayton.com that Wilder had suffered from "health problems and had died in his sleep."

Heatwave, with Wilder and his brother Johnnie Wilder on vocals, gave us beloved classics like "Boogie Nights," "The Groove Line." But none could surpass 1977's  "Always and Forever," which has now become a Quiet Storm and wedding song staple. 

Keith joined the band in the mid-70s at his Johnnie's suggestion and stayed on until the 80s when the band disbanded. 

The Roots drummer Questlove paid tribute to Keith and also celebrated Johnnie, who passed away in 2006.

The Holy #Heatwave trinity comes to a sad close. In 1980 the (sun?) #JohnnieWilder the bright falsetto light (and harmony monster) was in a horrific motorcycle accident which rendered him paralyzed & down for the count from being in the group full time. He fought the good fight but passed away back in 2006. The Spirit of the band was mastermind #RodTemperton whose work with Heateave prompted Quincy Jones to hire him to in hopes of passing MJ some of that magic: enter #OffTheWall #RockWithYou #Thriller #BabyBeMine #BurnThisDiscoOut & #TheLadyInMyLife... not to mention #YahMoBeThere #SweetFreedom #GiveMeTheNight #BabyComeToMe @Oprah’s Theme (that clip of Carlton jamming to it on #FPOBA still cracks me up) & Anita Baker’s killer #Mystery on her Rapture album (let’s not forget his own band’s #TheGrooveLine #BoogieNights #StarOfTheStory #AintNoHalfSteppin & of course #AlwaysAndForever the best love song ever that allowed Johnnie the space to flex and show off his adlibs that remain w us to this day) Sadly til now the father #KeithWilder was holding down the fort. Actively holding the legacy torch of the band he founded w his late brother. Johnnie was a MONSTER singer whose harmony game is unmatched. No REAL singer worth their grain of salt NEVER denied his mastery. Temperton was the god not just writing “hits” (hits doesn’t always equal “quality”) he created beautiful art (even as cheesy as Thriller was supposed to be, he navigated it carefully and truly landed it as a historical landmark of a song. Damn near making MJ the Halloween king (peep Off The Wall’s intro which also attempted that challenge 3 yrs earlier). Keith sang on ALOT of my fav Heatwave joints (Boogie Nights, Groove Line, One Night Tan, & the dramatic epic Therm Warfare) he was the gruff voiced counterpart to his younger brother’s velvet smoothness. Edwards to Kendricks, Jermaine to Michael, Gorrie to Stuart, White to Bailey, Levert to Williams practically EVERY monster soul group gave you more than one vocalist to focus on. Shame that all 6 of their albums aren’t available to listen to (aye @Sony where the hell js #HotProperty!?) let’s keep his light alive & celebrate his art. rip Keith Wilder!

A post shared by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on

Funk icon Bootsy Collins also paid tribute to Wilder. 

Wilder is survived by his mother, his wife Lucille, three brothers and four children. 

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