b. Johnnie James Wilder Jr., 3rd July 1949, Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 13th May 2006, Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.
Johnnie Wilder sang in high school choirs and stage productions before joining the army in 1969.
While in West Germany he began performing with club bands, later joining the group the Noblemen as lead singer.
Here he remained until 1972 when he was discharged by the army.
After a brief visit home he returned to Germany where he formed the group Heatwave with Tommy Harris.
After several succesful singles with the band, Johnnie suffered a tragic auto accident in 1979.
It left him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to continue performing with Heatwave.
Heatwave had three straight R & B Top 10 singles and a pair of Top 10 pop hits.
'Boogie Nights' was extremely popular, but 'Always and Forever' turned Heatwave and Johnnie into major league artists.
While 'The Groove Line' was another uptempo dance hit, it was 'Always and Forever' that became their most popular single, and it is constantly played on the radio, especially on the late-night shows.
On the 24th of February 1979, a dump truck struck Johnnie's car, paralyzing him from the neck down (and hospitalizing him for a year).
rod temperton and johnnie
After the accident, Johnnie remained a co-producer of the group with Barry Blue.
He turned to gospel in 1988, recording an album, 'My Goal'.
The acappella single 'In The Garden' was released as a single in 1990 by Light Records.
A second acappella album appeared a few years later entitled 'One More Day'.
Johnnie Wilder passed away on the 13th of May 2006.
Keith Wilder said his brother was given a week to live after the crash 27 years ago. 'He did a lot with his life. He touched a lot of people's hearts.'
Services were held at Residence Park Church of Christ on Hoover Avenue, where a younger brother, Gerald Wilder officiated.
Johnnie was layed to rest in the VA National Cemetery.
He was survived by brothers Ernest Wilder of Sacramento, California, and Gregory Wilder of Dayton, wife, Rosalyn, and their daughter, Carla.
My Goal (Light Records 1988)
One More Day (Light Records 1997)