The Complete Disco Guide to...

Sheila and B. Devotion

Also known as Sheila and the Black Devotion

Anny Chancel (later known as Sheila) was born on August 16, 1946 in Paris, France. She became a pop/rock star in France in the 1960s, but her early songs have been denounced as childish, vapid, fluffy bubblegum music. Although she sang with B. Devotion (three African-American singers who had previously released an album under the name Trinita) in some earlier disco songs in the late 1970s, her crowning achievement is regarded as her song "Spacer". This late-1979 song, as well as the other 7 songs on her 1980 album "King of the World", were produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the Chic Organisation. "Spacer" was popular in Europe (including in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the Netherlands) and South Africa, selling 5 million copies worldwide, but was not a big success in the United States.

The back of the cover to the original "Spacer" single record (which also included "Don't Go") shows Sheila and the Black Devotion on rollerskates and in concert.

Sheila turned her attention to pop music in the 1980s. A remix of Sheila's "Spacer" came out in 1998.


DISCOGRAPHY

Classic Songs:
1977: Singin' in the Rain, Love Me Baby, I Don't Need No Doctor
1978: Hôtel de la Plage, You Light My Fire
1979: Spacer
1980: Charge Plates and Credit Cards, Your Love is Good

Albums:


Singin' in the Rain (1977)
TRACKS:   Singin' in the Rain     Shake Me     Kiss Me Sweetie     I Don't Need a Doctor     Love Me Baby     Instrumental S.B. [instrumental version of Love Me Baby]     Move It
The joyous English-language tune "Love Me Baby" became a sensation when released during the summer of 1977. Since Sheila's first disco album was a departure from her previous style, it was decided to launch "Love Me Baby" anonymously as "S.B. Devotion", without revealing to the public that Sheila was the lead singer. But as the song grew in popularity, the truth was finally discovered. Sheila's cover version of "Singin' in the Rain", which became a British hit in the spring of 1978, is mildly interesting. These songs are pleasant, with melodious strings and good harmonizing, but most would agree that they are not as special as those on the "King of the World" album. The songs were especially popular in France but found fans in many countries. The single "Love Me Baby" reached as high as number 9 in Germany and number 24 in the Netherlands. The single "Singin' in the Rain" reached number 11 in the United Kingdom, number 6 in Germany, number 2 in Sweden, number 10 in Zimbabwe, number 5 in Finland, number 11 in South Africa, and number 7 in Italy.

The "Singin' in the Rain" album was released by Carrere Records in Europe and by Casablanca Records in the United States.


King of the World (1980)
TRACKS:   Spacer     Mayday     Charge Plates and Credit Cards     Misery     King of the World     Cover Girls     Your Love is Good     Don't Go
"Steering a course close to dance-orientated rock, the masterminds of Chic have produced a very European-sounding album, as befits French singer Sheila. Sample the Kraftwerk influence on 'Mayday' and the blistering guitar work on 'Cover Girls'; it's Rodgers and Edwards as you've not heard them before. But the album's highspot is unquestionably 'Charge Plates and Credit Cards', a tribute to life with plastics which rocks into a sparse and spacious rhythmic groove which never lets up. Best cuts: Spacer, Charge Plates and Credit Cards, Don't Go."
         - Billboard Magazine (June 1980)

"...The album of the metamorphosis [from a teen icon to a disco diva] has the title 'King of the World', in which the ex-'average French petite girl' was accompanied by American black musicians, B. Devotion. The other important presence was that of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, of the group Chic, which, after signing up artists like Diana Ross and Sister Sledge, had agreed to produce this album. The result, in addition to singing well, is that Sheila gave to her audience her own definition of disco music. A convincing definition, as evidenced by "He's a Spacer, He's a Chaser".
         - Philippe Margotin, Amazon.fr

The song "Spacer", released as a single in November 1979, provides over 6 minutes of great drumming and cool grooves, with Sheila and accompanying vocalists singing futuristic lyrics, all combining well to convey a spacelike atmosphere. "Spacer" tells of a woman's love for a gentlemanly "star-chaser" who acts as a protector of the galaxy. He vigorously opposes oppression and is seen as trustworthy. The song says that this man will be leaving on a mission tonight, thereby putting his life at risk. Despite what may happen to him, the love between the singer and this man "will last beyond time and space". "Spacer" reached #18 Pop in the U.K.

The other disco songs on the album are "Don't Go" and "Your Love is Good". The rest of the tracks are best classified as excellent rock music.

As with their previous disco album, "King of the World" was released by Carrere Records.

Variant King of the World Album Cover Spacer 1979 Single Record Cover


Sheila Compilations:
  • Les plus grands succes de Sheila
  • Les Années Disco
  • Le Meilleur de Sheila (France release)
  • Les Incontournables de Sheila
  • Digipack Collector: Best of Sheila
  • Sheila and B. Devotion: The Disco Singles
  • Sheila and B. Devotion: The Disco Years
  • Nile Rodgers presents The Chic Organization: Boxset Volume 1: Savoir Faire - includes Sheila and B. Devotion's "Spacer" and "Your Love is Good". Previews of all tracks, and you can order it here from Juno Records in the UK.

    Covers of Sheila Songs:

  • "Good Times Medley (Funkercise)" a.k.a. "Funkercise (The Chic Medley)" by Enigma (1981) includes a 32-second condensed cover of "Spacer"
  • "Spacer" by Real Man (1990)
  • "Spacer" by Linda Wesley (1991)
  • "Spacer" by Precious Wilson (1992)
  • "Spacer" by Systematic (1993)
  • "Spacer" by Ketty DB (1994) - electro-dance version

    Sheila-Influenced Songs:

  • "Crying at the Discotheque" by Alcazar (2000) - Swedish group's song that samples Sheila's "Spacer"
  • "Into Space" by Plaything (2001) - pop-trance song that samples Sheila's "Spacer"
  • "Let's Stay Together" by Horny United Presents Lovesick (2002) - house song that samples Sheila's "Spacer"
  • "Dusk Till Dawn (Remix by the Shapeshifters)" by Danny Howells and Dick Trevor featuring Erire (2004) - funky house song that samples "Don't Go"
  • "Love Me Like a Flower" by Sun Connection (2004) - house song that samples "Love Me Baby"

    Related links:

  • Chic
  • Sheila 2006
  • Le Site Non-Officiel de Sheila
  • Sheila Fan
  • Phil's Sheila and B. Devotion Page
  • Andrea's Sheila and B. Devotion Page
  • Disconnected: Sheila and B. Devotion
  • Tirelipimpon.com: Sheila
  • Jogoland.com: Review of "King of the World" by Joe Thornburg
  • Sumthing Distribution: Nile Rodgers Musical Biography
  • Nile Rodgers and Chic's Musical Timelines
  • Disco Savvy Homepage