Heatwave (1969 ~ 1972)
1969 and The Moving Targets, formerly The Florins: John Fellows ~ bass/vocals (Norwood); Terry Shea ~ rhythm guitar/vocals (Peckham); Richard Steen ~ lead guitar/vocals (Liverpool), were auditioning in south London yet again for a drummer. Martin Samuel ~ drums/pyrotechnics (Mombasa) was signed on and the newly-named Heatwave took shape. They were a progressive pop harmony group, playing cover versions of the popular artists of the day, with lead vocals shared by Terry and John with a few songs from Richard – doing such local gigs as, 4 nights at The Boathouse (Richmond) for £40.
In the winter of '69, John Edward Entertainment Agency was looking for bands and, having arrived at the audition early, Heatwave were outside listening to Spencer Mac (Bournemouth) when, someone said, "Let's not bother." Martin talked them into auditioning with, "We've come this far, may as well go in." They played: 'Papa Genes Blues' (Mike Nesmith), 'Morning Dew' (Bonnie Dobson), 'I Shall Be Released' (Bob Dylan) and were asked to sign that night. Touring the country as a four-piece, playing four sets a night, was a hard but great life and they became a very tight vocal harmony band with a solid dance beat, often 'opening' for 'name' acts while earning a large fan following.
John Edward believed the band did not have a strong enough voice to be a successful recording group and suggested recruiting a lead vocalist. This did not go down too well with John and Terry but, eager for a recording contract, they didn't argue and set up auditions with an advert in the Melody Maker. After what seemed like hundreds of strange and out of tune would-be singers, they heard Peter Allatt ~ lead vocals & percussion (Mansfield) and offered him the position. Prior to joining Heatwave, Pete was the stage manager of a West End strip club in Greek Street called Maxim's Revue Bar where the owner let the band rehearse until they were ready to hit the road as a five-piece.
A new blue Ford Transit van (driven by John and Pete) was purchased, reclining seats bought from B.O.A.C. were bolted in the back, and they continued enlarging their following doing one night stands around the U.K. Three of many favourite venues played were: The Pheasantry (London), California Ballroom (Dunstable) and The Cavern Club (Liverpool) ~ where a brick with the Heatwave name is proudly displayed in the Cavern Wall of Fame.
A stage act was suggested whereupon, Martin turned up the heat with a pyrotechnic display of fire eating ... on occasion, others would then 'open' the show for them. The band's stage gear was made in Ganton Street, just off Carnaby Street by, The Carnaby Cavern, owned by Danny Benjamin and managed by his very good friend Colin Wild.
Heatwave was invited to appear on the Terry Wogan radio show without having the usual audition and, from that, given the opportunity to record for the Dave Cash, Kenny Everett, Dave Lee Travis, Jimmy Young and Radio One Club shows ~ in fact, Heatwave became one of the most-oft heard 'live' professional bands on BBC Radio One between 1969 and 1970.
Recorded in Pye Studios 16th October 1970, Heatwave released 'Sister Simon (Funny Man)' / 'Rastus Ravel (Is A Mean Old Man)' (PEN 738), 2nd November 1970, on the Larry Page Penny Farthing Records label. Both songs were written and produced by John Edward for Instant Sound Production – the single featured back-up singers, Doris Troy with Maggie Stredder, Gloria George and Marian Davis, The Ladybirds, with Rick Wakeman playing keyboards on the B-side.
Quite often and at different clubs, BBC radio broadcasts were heard to emanate from Richard's Vox AC30 amplifier when on stage! On one occasion, Pete and Martin literally hijacked Radio 1 Club, while on the air, and played the A-side of the record while John, Rich and Terry waited outside in the get-away Tranny van. The record was a big thing in the band's life and, unbeknownst to them at the time, was released in Germany and also Japan ~ where it sold more copies than in the U.K. Word on the web is, the funkier B-side is still played in clubs in those countries today.
11 years down the road and, playing as a trio comprised of Terry, Richard and Pete, the British Rail Servicemen's Club at Bulwell in Nottingham was the final gig for Heatwave.
With special thanks:
14.8.2011, Kanta Usui (Japan) uploaded 'Rastus Ravel (Is A Mean Old Man)' to YouTube
24.4.2012, Col Wolfe (England) published the Heatwave Story
01.1.2012, Svenn Martinsen (Norway) placed Heatwave on rotation on Radio Northern Star
2.4.2013, 'Rastus Ravel' is released as track 4 on Piccadilly Sunshine, Part Twelve: British Pop Psych and Other Flavours 1967-1971
11.4.2013, Paul Martin reviewed Picadilly Sunshine, Vol. 12 in Shindig! Magazine with ... So here’s another hamper of low calorie sooth-sayers with pictures to paint. The indulgence food in this particular feast comes from Heatwave’s “phat” mod-soul funker, ‘Rastus Ravel’.
1.5.2013, vote for the best version of 'Rastus Ravel' at Forumusic