Oliver Cheatham, best known for the 1983 dance hit Get Down Saturday Night, died on Friday, November 29 after suffering a heart attack whilst asleep. He was 65.
Encouraged to sing by his mother, the young Oliver joined several local groups in his hometown of Detroit, including The Young Sirs, Mad Dog And The Pups and Gaslight, before releasing a single, Hard Times, on the Tier label. He then joined another outfit, Sins of Satan, the group later being renamed Roundtrip. Ultimately the band took his name and recorded two albums as Oliver.
In the early eighties Cheatham landed a solo recording contract with MCA, starting on his debut album, The Boss, with producer Al Hudson. In ’83 he enjoyed a hit in both the US and UK with Get Down Saturday Night, a tune co-written with Kevin McCord of One Way. The subsequent album of the same name was overseen by Al Perkins. Further Cheatham hits included SOS, Celebrate [Our Love] and Turn Out The Lights, the latter a duet with Jocelyn Brown).
During the ‘90s Cheatham worked mainly as background vocalist. What turned to be his final album, Stand For Love, was released in 2002. He actually returned to the pop charts in 2003, when he was featured in Room 5’s UK No. 1 single, Make Luv, which sampled Get Down Saturday Night, though Cheatham re-cut his vocal parts for later releases. The track was featured on a TV commercial for Lynx deodorant. Its success in the UK led Cheatham to relocate to Surry and he recorded in London for the Native Soul record label.
Elements of Get Down Saturday Night were also used in Michael Gray’s 2004 hit, The Weekend and the track was sampled for Daft Punk’s Voyager. It also featured in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.