Heatley was born in North London. He appeared with Vic Ash's sextet in 1958, together with Ian Hamer (tp), Johnny Scott (fl), and Alan Branscombe (p) and had then joined The Jazz Couriers some weeks before they disbanded. He went on to play briefly with the quartet Tubby Hayes formed immediately afterwards with fellow Couriers Terry Shannon and Phil Seaman.
Heatley stayed with Dankworth until 1962, then joining the Tony Coe Quintet, and touring with trumpeter Kenny Baker. In 1963 he was with the Bill Le Sage and Ronnie Ross quartet, with Allan Ganley. He then began session work in the same rhythm section as Jimmy Page and John McLaughlin. He was an early member of Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated. Between 1970 and 1974 he was part of successful jazz-rock fusion act CCS, and played on recording sessions for Rod Stewart.
In the 1970s he was in the house band for the children's TV show Play Away.
During the 1980s and early 90s, he was with the American all star group the Great Guitars featuring Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd and Barney Kessel which also sometimes featured British player, Martin Taylor.
These days, Heatley spends most of his time in France.
- Presenting The Bill Le Sage - Ronnie Ross Quartet (April 1963) - Bill Le Sage (piano, vibes); Ronnie Ross (baritone sax); Heatley (bass); Allan Ganley (drums)
- 2003:The Other Side of the Coin - (Renella 01) - Heatley, Double Bass; Roy Williams, Trombone; Danny Moss, Tenor Saxophone; Mick Hanson, Guitar; Dave Newton, Piano; Malcolm Mortimore, Drums