Soul singer OLIVER CHEATHAM died on Friday 29th November. He suffered a heart attack in his sleep. He was aged 65.
Born in Detroit, Oliver Cheatham will be remembered for his 1983 anthem, ‘Get Down Saturday Night’. The cut packed dance floors throughout the 80s and in the right sort of place it still works the same magic.
Cheatham however had a career that predates that biggie. He actually debuted in Detroit in the mid 60s on the Tier label before joining vocal group The Young Sirs who enjoyed a regional hit with ‘There’s Something The Matter’. In the 70s Oliver worked solo for Grand Junction records then as part of a group called The Gaslight. He then was a member of Sins of Satan and Roundtrip before leading another group known simply as Oliver. During all this he also recorded as a solo singer and UK label Soul Junction Records recently released a couple of his “lost” solo recordings that till now were acetate only.
But it was ‘Get Down Saturday Night’ that became Cheatham’s calling card. The 1983 recording is an acknowledged soul-dance classic. He continued to record over the remainder of 80s but not with the same kind of success. He did though enjoy some chart action with ‘SOS’, ‘Celebrate (Our Love)’ and ‘Turn Out The Light’ (a duet with Jocelyn Brown).
Cheatham spent much of the 90s working as a background singer for several artists, and released his final album, ‘Stand for Love’, in 2002. In recent years he’d lived in the UK where he was a popular performer on the weekender circuit. He even made the UK charts in 2003, when he was featured in Room 5’s U.K. number 1 single, ‘Make Luv’. His signature hit, ‘Get Down Saturday Night’, continued to have life for years after its release. It was included in the Grand Theft Auto video game and was sampled for Daft Punk’s song ‘Voyager’.