Black Heat

No Time to Burn – Black Heat

Black Heat started as a backup band for another Washington group, the Day-Tons, with a core lineup comprised of percussionist King Raymond Green, guitarist Bradley Owens, drummer Esco Croner, keyboardist Johnnell Gray (pictured left to right), and bassist John Byrd.

The band separated from the Day-Tons, retitled as Black Heat, and flourished with the replacement of Byrd with Naamon “Chip” Jones on bass and lead vocals. Black Heat recorded their self-titled debut album in 1972 on Atlantic Records with legendary producer Joel Dorn and soon became one of the earliest go-go bands to receive attention outside of DC.

Black Heat added Raymond Thompson (right) on saxophone and Rodney Edwards (second from right) on trumpet and recorded three more albums on Atlantic with Dorn— “No Time to Burn” (1974), “Keep On Runnin’ (1975), and “Fired Up” (1976). They played in Europe, the Philippines, at Carnegie Hall and on the PBS program “Soul!” and also toured with Earth Wind & Fire, the Ohio Players, the Commodores, New Birth, and Funkadelic. The latter group stole Black Heat’s song “Get Off Your Ass And Jam” for their 1975 album “Let’s Take It to the Stage.” Despite Black Heat’s success members of the group stayed humble.

“Everybody’s not cut out to be a musician. It’s either feast or famine,” says Green. “There were a lot of groups that were probably better than us that never had that opportunity. We were fortunate to be at the right place at the right time and be able to maintain a great sound.”

Black Heat broke up shortly after recording “Fired Up” but their impact has endured as samples in songs by N.W.A., Casual, The Notorious B.I.G., the Wu-Tang Clan, Fat Joe, Biz Markie, DJ Shadow, Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, and on the 2011 international hit by Jessie J featuring B.o.B., “Price Tag.”

You can purchase Black Heat‘s music here.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.
4 Responses to Black Heat
  1. […] cabarets around DC along with fellow go-go pioneers The Soul Searchers, The Young Senators, and Blac...
  2. Lawanda Reply

    I was watching scandal and noticed the song because it’s in my iTunes playlist. Pretty cool , my uncles on the guitar. Congrats Black Heat!!!

  3. Mecca Trotter-Roeser Reply

    I knew Raymond Green and Bradley Owens back in the seventies. We were good friends. My sister Jessie Trotter was a part of the group for awhile. My friend’s and I use to smoke and jam to Black Heat. They were extremely talented. I last saw Raymond in 2009 when he visited me in Dc. I really would like to see him again.

  4. Larry Scott Reply

    Great band. I had the pleasure of doing a show with them in Lynchburg Va. My band was called The Dyna-Tones. I have a question if there is anyone out there than can answer it. There’s a video of Ray, Goodman, and Brown live at the Capital Center 1980 on you tube. Does anyone know if that’s Esco Cromer from Black Heat on drums? Sure does look like him.

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