Johnnie Wilder Jr.
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Johnnie Wilder Jr., the smooth and soulful lead singer of the '70s and '80s R&B sextet Heatwave, and who made a comeback as a gospel singer after an automobile crash, died Saturday at his home in Clayton. He was 56. Mr. Wilder founded Heatwave with his brother, Keith Wilder, who still performs with the two-time Grammy-nominated band.
Published in Dayton Daily News on May 16, 2006.
Memories & Condolences
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717 entries
May 16, 2021
I got to see Mr. Wilder perform once when he song Always and Forever to Amarosa. He was amazing! What was more amazing was his heart. I was blessed to work with him in the studio where he dedicated time at my Alma Mater Central State University. He taught me so much about recording. He recorded students for free and only asked that they did a PSA for CSU's radio station. Mr. Wilder worked with myself and other students teaching us the process of laying a track. Mr. Wilder was a wonderful mentor that I get the pleasure of saying I had. Thank you Mr. Wilder....
Christie Charles
April 25, 2021
Loved Johnnies voice where can i get his last cd -one more day or a copy of it please
March 28, 2021
Johnnie Wilder's melodic voice has yet to be duplicated. Over and over I listen to Heatwave's music and recall the "good ole days". I was devastated when I heard of his accident! May he rest in peace. Rest in peace also, Keith and those in the band who left us. Thanks for the memories!
Carolyn Carter
January 22, 2021
No one knew who heatwave was when they performed and opened for Chaka khan inn Detroit, Mi and they turned the place out, Johnny was doing flips off the speakers doing the splits and took the crowd by surprise with his brother Keith as they opened the stage with the record "Put the word out " GLARING~ Psychedelic LIGHTS raveling ...taking everyone by surprise ..."No one has seen HEATWAVE BEFORE !" Johhny would blurt out loud on stage..."Nooo" the crowd would yell...then the rest of the night everyone knew who they were...the Drummer Ernest 'bilbo ' Berger was drumming so loud you felt you were next to him, the group was so strong they gave them a curtain call ..."HEAT WAYE~HEATWAVE" and it was a buzzing sound through out the building...just killed the next act...threw out heat wave stickers with the group logo [which I still have]....totally thrilling experience of one of the best thrilling groups ever put together on stage that year....stuck in my mind forever. Heard years later about his accident and my heart sank...however still made a hit in the aftermath 'Turn around" and I was happy to hear his voice again. I had the day off at work the day of his funeral and started to drive from Detroit to pay my respects , but he lived a life that was well respected in history, I hope it never fades away ...thanks for giving us the music to remember you by, Keith Wilder -Mr Temperton R.I.P. also and all members who left the earth ...thanks for great ride into the music kingdom.
Devon L Smith
January 5, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Farasha M
November 15, 2020
Always and Forever!! You will never be forgotten.
Rose Hunter
November 15, 2020
Always and Forever!! You will never be forgotten.
Rose Hunter
October 24, 2020
I met Heatwave in London 1987/88 I was a young singer. All these years later the music is even sweeter and brother Johnny's beautiful composition 'One More Day' ministered to me this week so strong I was in tears. The Lord is still using Johnny Wilder Jr. to minister, what a great man! A great voice, a great mind, who knew the great Saviour, what an example, always and forever!
Bishop Steven L. Evans
October 2, 2020
His music was part of my early life in Scotland, I loved his voice and Heatwave were in my opinion one the best funk, should bands of all time. God bless Johnny and thanks for the memories From Frank inn Bonnie Scotland.
Frank Lestet
September 22, 2020
So gifted and talented and such a wonderful man.
March 26, 2020
Just listening to All You Do Is Dial..Timeless Music that I will always love RIH Mr Wilder. .
Lolo Nocentelli
January 4, 2020
Was just watching a video- WOW! What a gift we got!!!
November 18, 2019
What a beautiful voice ..I try to sing ..always forever since I was a kid..I still can't hit that one him..You will be miss..May God be a God of all Comfort to the Family's..My condolence..
November 12, 2019
I hate I did not keep in touch after Heidelberg. I am proud of your successes and send my love to your family.
Elder (2LT) Melvin Allen Tukes
September 30, 2019
You and your music are timeless Mr. Wilder! You are forever a part of the soundtrack of my life! Fly with the Angels my friend!!! - Wiggy
March 11, 2019
Arnetta Savage
February 25, 2019
Just finding out about his passing - in 2019, & it still hurts. May God give his family comfort - only He can!
October 16, 2018
Rest in peace Johnnie Wilder ✝
S Lee
September 21, 2018
Johnny Wilder Jr. I so hope one day I will get to hear and enjoy your voice in heaven cause I know you haven't stop. May God Bless your wife and daughter along their ways of life. Will meet you soon!!!!
Sheila Perena
March 26, 2018
Johnnie you have made a lot of people happy with your time on this Earth,the song Always And Forever makes me cry for the right reasons,God Bless you !
Steve Dixon
January 20, 2018
Michael May
November 17, 2017
I fell n Love with this song when I was 13 years old back n 1979 living in my home town of SPUR TEXAS... I LOVE this group.... U will ALWAYS n FOREVER b remember.... LOVE U... RIP
Linda McKinney
October 31, 2017
One of the greatest musicians Mr Johnnie Wilder.
July 9, 2017
Love ya Dad
Taylor Wilder
June 10, 2017
He is a continue inspiration for me. 2 seek god with my whole heart and 2 use my gift for his glorification. I am assured he is continuing his life with God now
Demetri Pinkins
May 26, 2017
His voice is priceless
Jemy Villanueva
March 31, 2017
Thanking God for giving us you and sharing beautiful music that will never age.
Yvonne Ndunge
February 23, 2017
1979 wasn't the end of Heatwave nor Johnnie Wilder Jr. Your voice & music is still as beautiful as the day it was recorded !!! Thank U Johnnie 4 givin us great & lasting memories & 2 all Heatwave fans around the world in the words of the song from "Current" (1982) album, let's all "Look After Love"...........R.I.P
Charles Hayes
October 24, 2016
For the 10 years you've been gone. I send a light up towards heave for you. GOD bless you heart.
Arnetta Savage
October 22, 2016
All I can say is Mr Johnnie Wilder Jr. was an awesome contributor of greatness of life. A genious in his own right. I watch Heatwave's videos on YouTube often these days. The 70s and 80s were some of the best times in my life. We do not have great bands like Heatwave anymore. GOD bless his wonderful soul. Thank you for all you've done for the world. A song is nothing until it's brought to life. You brought life to Heatwave songs. The best smile in the world. GOD bless your wife and daughter. Family is so important especialy during you recovery. The best part is he never stop living. Stayed productive helping other artists.
Arnetta Savage
October 21, 2016
I was only 13 years old when Boogie Nights and Always and Forever became hits to be followed by The Groove Line (my all time favorite). Just loved listening to your beautiful voice and most recently realized how beautiful you were inside and out. May you rest in peace with our Lord. Will see you again in Heaven.
Marla Rios
October 18, 2016
Rest in peace Johnnie. God blessed you with such an anointed voice. I know you are singing with the Angels. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.
Laverne Mooring
October 12, 2016
I love Johnnie Wilder Jr all my life, he will never be forgotten form then tell now always and forever much love
Michelle Hodapp
October 11, 2016
GOD bless your soul Mr Wilder Jr. You were such a genious. Great singer. I was only 16 years old when I first heard 'Always and Forever'. My favorite song ever. You sang that song man. Wow! Then 'Grove line' next LP. What a great entertainer. I listen to Heatwave live in Germany on YouTube. I remember watching Heatwave performing at the Grammys at home. First time seeing who they were. Sleep on until that morning it's time to meet Jesus in the mid air. Thank Mrs Roaslyn Wilder and Keith Wilder for sharing your story on 'Unsung'.
Arnetta Savage
October 8, 2016
What a Special Soul Johnnie was. I truly believe it was his God given purpose to infuse joy into our lives and lift our spirits through his music. Music is Universal and so was Johnnie Wilder and Heatwave! He lives on through his music. We will ALWAYS love you Johnnie!
Darya Moore
September 1, 2016
Incredible singer, love heatwave music and his songwriting abilities. Rip you sing with the Angels as you are now
July 3, 2016
Happy Birthday. You are loved and truly missed.
Indy S
June 25, 2016
andrea c
June 24, 2016
I've always loved to hear Johnie Wilder and Heatwave! I'm also glad that he was a member of the Church if Christ! RIP bro. Wilder! You had a voice out if this world!!!!!
Charolyn kelly
May 23, 2016
10 years gone but never forgotten.
February 12, 2016
you voice is truly a gift from the heavens bro...RIP..I remember as a child listening to "in the garden" before Sunday service..
Prescott Hilson
December 22, 2015
Its 2015 What I want to say its hard for me to put into words. Listening to Mr. Wilder sing was and will always be a joyful gift to me. I know he was more than acceptional singer. I just came across this and could'nt not make a statement. May God bless him eternally. He left this world a saved man.
Love Lawrence
December 2, 2015
Man'. When I hear your song's I'm forever 15 . My happy years thanks to you
Theresa Nash
November 30, 2015
Recently saw the show Unsung and was reminded how talented Heatwave and Johnny was. So proud of Dayton's son and always will keep you in mind and soul through your music. God Bless
Caroline Thrash
November 30, 2015
Rest in Peace., loved your music. I saw your show on Lakrnheath Air Force Base, England and it was wonderful . I will never forget.
Pauline George
November 30, 2015
Pauline George
November 29, 2015
You are missed.
Jo Ragland
September 4, 2015
You continue to be an inspiration...
Always n Forever...
Lorena De Haro
July 16, 2015
Kelvin Hicks
July 16, 2015
Johnnie, you and your music was and (still is) an inspiration to me and I will always treasure it. I am glad you home with the Lord.

Continued Peace and Blessings to your family!!
Deb J
July 10, 2015
In God's care rest in peace
Dwayne Bickham,Sr.
June 9, 2015
Recently, saw the Unsung show with Heatwave and was truly inspired by Johnnie's story/testimony. May God bless and keep the Wilder family.
Qiana Davis
March 15, 2015
February 28, 2015
He was a great singer. Always and Forever
S Donofrio
January 21, 2015
Voice like an angel.
Resting in Gods hands for now.
Rhonda White
January 17, 2015
Johnnie you will always live on, thanks to you the years you been here make our live's a happy place,
Theresa Nash
January 15, 2015
Johnnie Wilder...a fellow musician and a life long musical hero for me personally. I was blessed for that and I miss you so much my friend. God bless you and Your family.
Nick Elliott
October 16, 2014
One of my favorite group back in the day. I didn't know until now of his death. I'm sad to hear about this. May his family find comfort in God word Romans 15:4
Beverly F
October 4, 2014
Still listening to your beautiful angelic voice ...You were the best Johnnie
Anthony Wood
September 17, 2014
Your life blesses me still to this day! Love to your family!

Camille Wyatt
August 5, 2014
You will be missed may you rest in the arms of jesus
Alonzo Fairley Jr
July 28, 2014
I never got to see you sing but I remember my boyfriend and friends trying to sing your part. RIP
Tracey Wilson
July 18, 2014
My wife and i danced to this song always and forever in 1978 and were married to this song. Thanks heatwave.
Charles Stewart
July 17, 2014
I worshiped Heatwave and purchased every album they recorded. I memorized every song. Rod Temperton was a great song writer and a few of the songs he wrote for Michael Jackson I often wondered how Johnny would have sounded singing them. I grew up playing saxophone, but Johnny made me want to sing. RIP man. I pulled out the band's Central Heating CD tonight and listened to all tracks. Timeless. Good times and memories you provided me growing up.
Baron Gipson
June 25, 2014
love ya cousin
clarice wilder
May 2, 2014
Theresa Headd
May 2, 2014
Your the man still' I don't know you one on one but my best friend was killed and when I hear your song's I think of the good day's and my happy time's. Thank you Johnny and family
Theresa Headd
April 13, 2014
My husband and I loved you and Heatwave. Your music defined an important era for us. The music of Heatwave is still important to us. It is full of soul, beauty, truth and good old, hard core funk. Love it, and love you always (and forever).
Carrie Ameli
October 14, 2013
DJ kenny6 with or kzko. I recall seeing HeatWave during the late seventies in FrankFurt,Germany at the Plantation Club.T.U. (RIP)
DJ Kenny6 DJ Kenny6
September 1, 2013
Johnnie i really charished times we had. I do miss u. I guess our god wanted you there to sing for him. Blessings to ur family.
Rosalyn Fernandez
August 22, 2013
May 12, 2013
To the Wilder family my prayers to you all what an angelic wonderful talent he had I so wish that I got to see him in person he has given so much joy with his gift the determination he showed to live and continue to share his gift thank you for sharing him with us God bless you
paul amorosi
May 6, 2013
R.I.P. Johnny Wilder. A phenomenal talent and inspiration to many. Reflecting on you and thinking good thoughts of all the beautiful music you brought our way.
Karen Hill
May 3, 2013
Beverly Mack
March 20, 2013
Thank you for the music. God bless x x
Lj Mann
March 20, 2013
I first saw Johnnie and Heatwave live when stationed in the UK at Royal Air Force Bentwaters Air Base in East Suffolk in 1976 during one of their tours. The band was outstanding. He never knew what an impact he had on my life as a musician afterwards. Like Johnnie I started in rhythm, blues and funk and made my way to God's music. May God always and forever keep him in His loving arms.
Vincent Blake
March 17, 2013
Truly miss you & your voice, you made the whole world happy , not to many people could that. When i think of you and Heatwave it always reminds me of " The first day of snow" my favorite song ,realy your still here..
Al white
February 25, 2013
Rest in Peace
February 20, 2013
GREETINGS FROM SOUTH AFRICA - just heard of your passing now - Johhnie Wilder Jnr.
May God Richly Bless your soul and your family - JOHANNESBURG SOUTH AFRICA, AFRICA
Charles Staals
February 10, 2013
Johnnie, you will 'Always and Forever' be my favorite singer of all time. To the family much love and God Bless.
Luci Turner
January 20, 2013
I loved and will always remember the music of Heatwave. WOW,what a blast.To the family of Johnnie Wilder Jr. - stay strong and God bless.
Ricky Banks
January 1, 2013
December 14, 2012
Tierra Billingsley
December 14, 2012
What a wonderful man he was and such a talented performer you will forever be remembered with love
Vanessa France
November 16, 2012
November 15, 2012
Johnnie, thank you. I learned music because of guys like you and Marvin Gaye. Your vocal arrangements and harmonies were God Gifted. They were perfect. When I need inspiration with my own music career, I always reach back to you.God bless you, Randy Hall
Randy Hall
October 30, 2012
32 years married to the love of my life. Heatwave's Always & Forever is and will always be our song. So sorry that his voice is gone..but the incredible music lives on. Rest in peace. Susan
susan d
September 22, 2012
I grew up on Heatwave musiq, Heatwave is not forgotten, he is a rare jewel, RIP my brother
Lei-Quana Utley
September 19, 2012
Arleen Johnson
August 12, 2012
Not only did he inspire people in music, he also inspired disabled people that you can live a full and happy life no matter the odds... RIP good man... The world loves and Misses you
Pamela Parrish
August 8, 2012
Never forgotten, so many memories of a wonderful voice which I had the pleasure & privilege of hearing live.
My daughter was recently married in NYC & partly because I love the song & has some small tribute to a wonderful singer one of her bridesmaids sang 'All I am' at the ceremony.
Gone but never forgotten.
July 16, 2012
When I was in the world I enjoyed Heat Wave music. When I became a follower of Jesus Christ, I was so happy to hear Johnnie Wilder, Jr singing praises to our Lord. How sincere his worship sounds. The acapella sound is so rich. I praise God for allowing Johnnie to bless our lives with music that glorified the Saviour. I pray his family and we all stay hidden in Christ.
Claudia Williams
July 13, 2012
Hearing mr. Wilder's story is extremely inspiring. I have Unsung on dvr and I watch it over and over again. He really sound like the type of brother I wish I would have known.
Hosheah Israel
June 30, 2012
My hero for the things you have did in you personal and professional life. I love you and miss you brotha
Johnny Nickerson
June 5, 2012
I enjoyed Mr. Wilder's gifted of singing and making others happy. I really appreciated the recent Unsung program about his life. May he rest in peace. God bless his family.
Janice Dennis
June 1, 2012
God blessed you with a wonderful voice. I was blessed to hear your music. may you R.I.P.
Kenneth Collins
June 1, 2012
I was priviledged to hear your voice. You was blessed in many ways. Your impact will be remembered for years. R.I.P.
kenneth Collins
May 13, 2012
Man.. I still miss working with Johnnie. Hard to realize it has been 6 years..
Rick Alexander
April 19, 2012
You will always be an inspiration your music, songs, and talnt will be missed.
Nicole Williams
April 11, 2012
Johnnie Wilder Jr. The music from your band Heatwave and in particular your voice and style was the soundtrack to my childhood and you continue to be one of my inspirations in life...always, Christopher
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