The Complete Disco Guide to...
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.
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, Seven Lonely Days
1980: Charge Plates and Credit Cards, Your Love is Good
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.
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".
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
plus grands succes de Sheila
Meilleur de Sheila (France release)
Incontournables de Sheila
Digipack Collector: Best of Sheila
and B. Devotion: The Disco Singles
and B. Devotion: The Disco Years
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:"Love Me Baby" by Disco Baby Band (1977)
"I Don't Need A Doctor" by International Disco Band and Singers (1978) - electro-disco
"Spacer" by John First, Son Orchestre, Ses Chanteurs
"Spacer" by Christopher John, Son Orchestre et ses Chanteurs (1979)
"Spacer" by Mario Cavallero, Son Orchestre et ses Chanteurs (1980)
"Spacer" by The Hiltonaires (1980)
"Spacer" by Eddie Driver (1981) - organ-infused version
"Spacer" by Hits on 33 a.k.a. Sweet Power (1981) - electro-disco
"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
"Spacer" by Starbossa (2010) - bossa version
"Spacer" by Le Minimoys Band (2010)
"Spacer" by Disco Fever (2011) - dance-pop version
"Spacer" by Camille Lou (2017) - electro-disco-pop version
"Spacer" by Joe Dibrutto (2017)
"Spacer" by Divina (2019) - electronic 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
"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"
Le Site Non-Officiel de Sheila
Phil's Sheila and B. Devotion Page
Andrea's Sheila and B. Devotion Page
Disconnected: Sheila and B. Devotion
of "King of the World" by Joe Thornburg
Sumthing Distribution: Nile Rodgers Musical Biography
Rodgers and Chic's Musical Timelines
Disco Savvy Homepage