Always and Forever (Heatwave song)

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"Always and Forever"
Always and Forever by Heatwave UK picture sleeve.png
UK vinyl picture sleeve
Single by Heatwave
from the album Too Hot to Handle
  • "Mind Blowing Decisions" (UK)
  • "Super Soul Sister" (US)
ReleasedDecember 3, 1977
Length3:32 (single edit)
6:14 (album version)
Songwriter(s)Rod Temperton
Producer(s)Barry Blue
Heatwave singles chronology
"Too Hot to Handle"
"Always and Forever"
"The Groove Line"
Alternative release
Side A of US vinyl release
Side A of US vinyl release
Audio sample
A sample of Heatwave's "Always and Forever" from Too Hot to Handle

"Always and Forever" is an R&B song written by Rod Temperton and produced by Barry Blue. It was first recorded by the British-based multinational funk-disco band Heatwave in 1976. Released as a single on December 3, 1977, the song is included on Heatwave's debut album Too Hot to Handle (1976) and has been covered by numerous artists, becoming something of a standard.

The song reached number 18 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in March 1978 after peaking at number two on the US Billboard R&B chart, the band's highest showing on that tally. The single was certified platinum by the RIAA on September 6, 2001.[1][2] In the UK, the songs "Too Hot to Handle" and "The Groove Line" were released before a double A-sided "Always and Forever" / "Mind Blowing Decisions" was issued in November 1978. This became the band's second top ten on the UK Singles Chart when it spent two weeks at number 9 in December of that year.

Heatwave version[edit]

After the international success of Heatwave's disco single "Boogie Nights", "Always and Forever" was chosen as the U.S. follow-up single in late 1977. A ballad featuring lead vocals by Johnnie Wilder, Jr., "Always and Forever" stood out among the band's predominantly disco repertoire and became a successful U.S. hit song in early 1978.

In the late 1970s through to the 1980s, it was a popular "slow dance" song at high school proms, weddings, particularly in inner-city areas with a high minority population. The song was also played during the slow dance scene in the movie House Party.

In the liner notes to Heatwave's 1996 compilation album, The Best of Heatwave: Always and Forever, music writer and former Billboard contributor Brian Chin notes that Wilder

says that it was right around the time of the single release of "Always and Forever" that he knew Heatwave's music would stand the test of time. This pop standard is emblematic of the Heatwave fusion of influences - R&B, teen romance, and both European and American flavors of pop.[3]

AllMusic reviewer Craig Lytle states that the song "was and continues to be an ageless piece. Johnnie Wilder's vocal exhibition throughout the vamp is breathtaking."[4]

In 2009, Essence magazine included the song in their list of the "25 Best Slow Jams of All Time".[5]


Luther Vandross version[edit]

"Always and Forever"
Luther Vandross-Always and Forever.jpg
Single by Luther Vandross
from the album Songs
ReleasedSeptember 1994 (UK)
January 1995 (U.S.)
GenreR&B, soul, adult contemporary
LabelEpic Records
Songwriter(s)Rod Temperton
Producer(s)Walter Afanasieff
Luther Vandross (co-producer)
Luther Vandross singles chronology
"Endless Love"
"Always and Forever"
"Love the One You're With/Going in Circles"
Music video
"Always and Forever (Live)" on YouTube

R&B/soul singer Luther Vandross released his cover of "Always and Forever" as the second single from his album Songs (1994). His recording earned him a Grammy Award nomination in the category Best Male R&B Vocal performance at the Grammy Awards of 1995 and placed on four Billboard charts, with its best showing on the R&B chart where it reached number 16. Vandross's single made the Hot 100 at #58 and also appeared on Billboard adult contemporary and rhythmic top 40 charts.[14]

Critical reception[edit]

Larry Flick from Billboard described the song as "a faithful rendition of a romantic standard". He added, "Layered with glorious strings and the golden input of producer Walter Afanasieff, single has the potential to go where his "Endless Love" duet with Mariah Carey did not–right to the top of the Hot 100. His voice has rarely fit so well with a song intended for pop radio consumption."[15] Music writer James Masterton wrote in his weekly UK chart commentary, that "it never was the most exciting of records and Luther does little to add to this."[16]

Track listing[edit]

US, UK - CD single[17]

  1. "Always and Forever" (Radio Edit) - 4:00
  2. "Searching" - 8:02
  3. "The Glow of Love" - 6:11
  4. "Always and Forever" (Live) - 5:03


Chart (1995) Peak
UK Singles (OCC) 20
US Billboard Hot 100[20] 58
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[21] 37
US Hot R&B Singles (Billboard)[22] 16
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[23] 25

Other significant cover versions[edit]

Among many artists who have recorded versions of "Always and Forever" is the American R&B vocal group Whistle, who released their single in 1990 from their album of the same name. Their take on the song made the top ten on the Billboard R&B chart, peaking at #9, while also cracking the top 40 of the Hot 100 at #35.[24]

American pop singer Johnny Mathis recorded the song for his 2008 compilation album, A Night to Remember.


  1. ^ "RIAA platinum certification - Heatwave - Always and Forever", RIAA, retrieved November 12, 2017
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2010). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 9th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 293.
  3. ^ Liner notes from The Best of Heatwave: Always and Forever, 1996, Sony Music Entertainment.
  4. ^ Too Hot to Handle album review AllMusic. Retrieved 12 August 2009.
  5. ^ "25 Best Slow Jams of All Time".
  6. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1978-04-29. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
  7. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Always and Forever". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  8. ^ "Heatwave - Always and Forever". UK Singles Chart. UK Official Charts Company. November 4, 1978. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Heatwave Billboard chart info Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 108.
  11. ^ "Top 100 1978-04-08". Cashbox Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-10-04. Retrieved 2014-12-22.
  12. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1978/Top 100 Songs of 1978". Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  13. ^ "Top 100 Year End Charts: 1978". Cashbox Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-10-27. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  14. ^ Vandross Billboard chart info Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  15. ^ Flick, Larry (5 November 1994). "Single Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. p. 95. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  16. ^ Masterton, James (29 January 1995). "Week Ending February 4th 1995". Chart Watch UK. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  17. ^ "Luther Vandross - Always And Forever at Discogs". Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  18. ^ "Luther Vandross - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  19. ^ "Official Charts Company : Luther Vandross". Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  20. ^ "Music: Top 100 - Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard.
  21. ^ "Rhythmic - Billboard". Billboard.
  22. ^ "Hot R&B Singles - Billboard". Billboard.
  23. ^ "Adult Contemporary Music Chart - Billboard". Billboard.
  24. ^ Whistle Billboard chart info Retrieved 10 August 2009.

External links[edit]