King of the world – Power Station Studio à New York City


English translation by J. Sommers




Whatever the genre to which King of the world belongs (Disco, pop, rock, New wave), the guitar solo in Spacer needs an explanation! The Chic members produced for Sheila a record with a European sound. These are the artists who gave us Le Freak, Good times, We are family, Upside down and let's dance. Needless to say these are 2 of the greatest musicians of the 20th century.

Entirely written, arranged and produces by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, the LP was mastered by them up to Sheila's voice, so as to have her record in a new tone. For them, Sheila had to sing in a lower tone and it was done that way. Nobody in Sheila's staff was allowed to participate in the record sessions: Sheila was alone with her new musicians/producers and the pressure was great on her shoulders. Sheila practiced her voice with Nile, voice that was added to pre-recorded instrumental tracks.

One has to know that Claude Carrère ordered King of the World to Chic. The band at that time would only produce funk or Soul and disco music whereas their ambition was to enter the Rock'n'roll world, but it was impossible for an African-American band. Nile and Bernard took this opportunity to write "King of the world" and made them an experimental, hybrid LP that they could never have produced for themselves.

Sheila landed in Kennedy Airport after a Concorde flight, had a breakfast at her hotel and went to her appointment at the Power Station Studio in NYC where the recording sessions were scheduled. She saw for the first time the track listing that she was to record. She already had listened to the Spacer demo but was completely oblivious to the rest of the LP. Chic wanted the latter to please her, they wanted the best LP possible for her as she was the one who would have to promote it.

Sheila's metamorphosis started with Spacer, a track inspired by Hans Solo, the hero from Star Wars in a romantic version. She travelled the whole of Europe during the summer of 1979, going from one TV show to the next, and one radio station to the next as well, while preparing yet another disco LP for September that never saw light.

Spacer remains today a unique phenomenon, in part due to Chic's influence that gives the title an attractive intro and a cult-worthy guitar solo. The exceptional version 'respect to Chic' gives us the entirety of this intro. Spacer that remained at least 12 consecutive weeks in the Billboard Top 100, was remixed numerous times, including the ones by Dimitri From Paris remixed from the original but also with samples from other hits such as Crying at the Discothèque. Thanks to Nile's work, Sheila's voice perfectly fits the tempo since no cover has ever been able to match the original sound recording. A video was shot for Sheila in Britain.

Listen to the second track, King of the World, after Jules Verne's novel Master of the world that inspired the record cover. This song is a mix of RnB and rock. After Spacer, the contrast was perhaps too violent et the track didn't reached the top even if it stayed in the charts during the Summer of 1980. There's a video for the song and a few TV shows with dynamic choreography. The title is very interesting because of its artistic post-rock quality. Nonetheless, the ill-fated incident of the playback during its first tv broadcast in a Guy Lux show probably caused the end of its promotion since Your love is good was only released in the USA as a promo single.

Your love is good is one of the best tracks by Rogers/Edwards: the soft funky/dance atmosphere, the guitar solo mastered only by Nile Rogers. The second version changed the latter with a piano solo with echo effects.

Another high in this LP is without any doubt Charge Plates and Credit Cards: the rhythm is unique and the drummer goes wildly about it while the guitar riff is grandiose. Credit cards didn't exist yet in Europe and Sheila herself didn't know what it was. It's definitely an avant-garde track.

Enjoy the Krafwerk influence (a German techno pop band that influenced post-rock productions). They are obvious on Mayday in which the binary rhythm is transformed into a hypnotic cadence. The track could be a sexual metaphor for an unsatisfying intercourse: "my heart explodes…the oil is leaking… and now I can't get through…but the reason I collapse is that you can't get your piston up…I can't go faster…Losing losing…the engines stop…"It may also be a parallel to the Six Million Dollar Man, or to the Bionic Woman and her critical accident.

Don't Go the other track on Spacer single, is definitely a Chic sound, Sheila's voice is soft, the tempo, repetitive and when listening to that track, one awaits feverishly the LP. A very good disco track.

Misery, it's "the misery of the world, a part of myself, that made me open my eyes on reality". The tempo is ultra fast, the melody syncopated and the guitar riff melts you away.

This Lp was produced by observing Sheila's work: some tracks are like her own, notably Cover girls with which she was on cover magazines for years.

In 2008, a collector's reedition of the LP was released from the original US masters. Indeed, when King of the World was released, some said that Claude Carrere had accelerated the tempo to stick to Sheila's usual 'sound'. On those masters, the tempo is slower which gives a different musical tone as Chic wanted it. Warner bros and its collaborators therefore released a fabulous gift to Sheila's fans.

Sheila's voice is deeper, Chic's beat more languishing, especially on Cover Girls, Charge plates and credit cards, as well as the rest of the album with the following tracks that are pure soul and disco Chic ones: Don't go; Your love is good; Misery and the out of this world Mayday. They all got a 'facelift' and 2 partial instrumental recordings of Spacer were added.

 

Track listing and listening

All songs by Nile Rodgers et Bernard Edwards

Side 1

Spacer (6'15)
Mayday (3'44)
Charges plates and credit cards (4'26)
Misery (3'02)

Side 2

King of the world (4'37)
Cover girls (3'17)
Your love is good (4'50)
Don't go (4'32)

 


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Single of the album

 


Spacer (1st edition 3'37) & (second edition 3'28)
Don't go (4'28)

Edited in 12 inch

 

King of the world (3'56)
Mayday (3'44)

Edited in 12 inch

 

 

Remixes & Outtake

Remixed from originals


Spacer

Remix 92 by Dimitri from Paris
Down to earth mix (7'28)
Lost in space mix (6'43)
Lost in dub space mix (6'08)
Radio remix edit (4'05)
DMC remix (7'48)

The freak out remix - Respect to chic (12'05)

Prise partielle 1 (4'48)
Prise partielle 2 (1'29)


Your love is good

Promotion copy - Original US : 45 RPM mono et stéréo (3'05) et 33 1/3 RPM (5'05)

Remix 2010
Dimitri From Paris Remix (from "outtake") (6'30)

Previously unrealised outtake (2'41)



Don't go


Promo only edit - Original US : 45 RPM 12in (4'49)



Queen of the world


Spacer's visual promotion and choregraphy are still engraved in people's minds: Sheila's with her silver-lamé overall and her colorful batons (a reference to Star Wars). In the 2008 collector's reedition, a sketch made by Sheila that represents her outfit is added.

Mayday. The song was first broadcast on TV in WRTL moderated by Bernard Schu on Saturdays at 5pm on RTl television. When announcing the song he said: " I guarantee you will never guess WHO sing this amazing song". The show was for a younger crowd oriented especially disco, rock, new-wave folks.

King of the world reached the top 10 of the RTL Clubs' Hits that ranked all of the tracks played in discos in France during the whole summer.

Spacer may ahve reached 5 million copies sold which appears reasonable as it was sold worldwide and was a hit everywhere, except maybe in France where it sold on 400.000 copies. Love me baby sold twice as much.

There was an official video for Spacer, Sheila's 1st shot in the UK. It was often broadcast and still is on Télé Melody (cable TV channel In France, specialized in music standards from the 60 till the 90s). Spacer has become a disco icon with a dozen covers since 1979: Billie J Daniel in 1984; Linda Wesley in 91, Precious Wilson in 92, Dimitri from Paris in the same year remixed it 4 times with Sheila's voice, in 93 by Systematics, in 94 by Ketty Db, Modern Talking...Alcazar sampled the track and it goes on and on.

Spacer also made it to Black music charts such as Cashbox, thanks to Chic's signature of course, but Sheila managed to defend the track with the B Devotion who came back after a year and a half away.

In the complete recordings, there's the US ad from the release of the LP that lasts 1 minute with Spacer and Mayday.

In Miami, during the SEDA Record Pool, a part of the Miami's Future Projections, Your love is good and Spacer were broadcast. The LP and the singles were released in the US by Atlantic records.

On Chic's boxset the Outtake from Your love is good is added. Dimitri from Paris used it for his 2010 remix only available on downloads.

On July 23rd 2008, at the Elysée Montmartre in Paris, it was already hot, when after an hour late, Chic gave a 2-hour long show singing their mythical tracks such as Everybody dance; Good Times; Le Freak; My forbidden Lover; At last I'm free; Upside down and some riffsfrom Rebels are we, soup for one; let's dance and Spacer on public demand.

Nile took pleasure in playing those fabulous riffs that held high Sheila's career. The whole audience was 100% Chic and there was a genuine complicity between the Band and the fans, who all knew the NYC Band's repertoire. Everybody was at their best, Nile of course, Sylver; Jerry; Folami; Cherie Mitchell; Bill Holloman, Rich Hilton, Gerardo Velez...

And what about Nile Rogers and Sheila's reunion, 29 years after Spacer! Such emotion! Sheila had been invited by Nile as a token of their collaboration. He'd asked that a box be reserved for her to watch the show in perfect conditions. The photograph that was taken that night shows them in complete harmony and proves that they still loved each other. Sheila didn't perform Spacer that night for technical reasons but who knows? Another time in Paris maybe? We'll all be there to celebrate our French funkywoman. Nile could realize that night how much Spacer was loved, that's why he plays it often live.

Sheila and Nile saw each other again in his house where the Crib studio is and where they composed 32 years before all the tracks of King of the World. This new reunion was organized by Warner bros for a portrait on Sheila: "Sheila, a life".


Spacer was a hit in the Netherlands (19th), Number one in Sweden ; N° 8 in Germany (in the charts for 20 weeks). It reached record sales in italy, even in Australia and South Africa. On May 10th 1980, it reached n°87 in the US charts and even 28th in the Soul & Black music charts.

During a performance for King of the World in Midi Première show, Sheila took the risk of a motorcycle acrobatic choreography that caused her a knee injury.

In order to have the bad playback incident for King of the World, Sheila decided to promote herself and singing live her next LP, Pilote sur les ondes with live band as well. She then announced her official come back for live concerts in 1981. On October 29th, she was a special guest at palmares Show with Guy Lux and performed most of her new tracks and a beautiful cover of Leo Ferré's song, jolie Mome formerly interpreted by Juliette Greco. The 'old lion' heard that and asked Sheila to come and sing with him during a show moderated by Thierry Le Luron at Le Palace. This unlikely collaboration took place and was such a success that the master (Ferré) congratulated the student (Sheila) and the critics couldn't say anything anymore against Sheila's singing voice as Ferré was not easy to satisfy.




Charts



Spacer


November 01, 1979
Enter the disco hits in the USA.
November 17, 1979
Between the Low Countries (best place: 19th)
November 04, 1979
Between hits in the UK. It ranks # 18 (classified for 14 weeks)
December 14, 1979
N ° 1 in Sweden on radio Stockholm
January 27, 1980
N°8 in Irland
March 10, 1980
Enter the German hit-parade
March 27, 1980
N ° 9 in Germany (classified for 20 weeks)
May 10, 1980
N ° 19 in South Africa
Enter the charts in the USA (87th)
May 17, 1980
Enter the US in the charts Soul and Black Music (best ranking: 28th and 5th?)
May 17, 1980
N ° 5 sales in Italy (ranked 18 weeks in the top 10 and 6 months in the hit-parade)
June 30, 1980
Enters the charts in Australia (2 weeks only)
December 31, 1980
16th best selling of the year in Italy for 1980
May 31, 1981
N ° 14 in Sweden on hit FM 94,2 Stockholm


Your love is good

June 01, 1980
Enters disco charts in USA (rated for 6 weeks)

 



Credits of the LP


 

Lead vocals : Sheila
Backing vocals : Alfa Anderson
Backing vocals : Fonzi Thornton
Backing vocals : Luci Martin
Backing vocals : Michelle Cobbs
Bass guitar : Bernard Edwards
Drums : Tony Thompson
Guitar : Nile Rodgers
Keyboards, fender rhodes : Andy Schwartz
Keyboards, fender rhodes : Raymond Jones
Percussion : Sammy Figueroa
Strings : Cheryl Hong (the Chic strings)
Strings : Karen Milne (the Chic strings)
Concert master : Gen Orloff

All songs produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards for the Chic Organization Ltd.

Sound engineer : Bob Clearmontain
Engineer : Bill Sheniman
Engineer : Larry Alexander
Mastering : Joe Gastwirt

Recording & mixed at Power Station Studio, New-York


Photography : John Shaw

Parachute harness supplied by the Head Corn Parachute Club


Lyrics

All songs by Nile Rodgers et Bernard Edwards

 

  • Spacer
  • Mayday
  • Charges plates & credits cards
  • Misery
 

SPACER

He’s a spacer
A star chaser
A spacer

He’s a spacer
A star chaser
A spacer

He’s a ladies man
Always greets with a kiss on the hand
Protects us all
At the ready to answer a call
In his own special way
He is gentle and kind
Oppression he hates
Love in his eyes
My heart skips a beat when I’m by his side

He’s a spacer
A star chaser
A spacer

He’s a spacer
A star chaser
A spacer

In our galaxy
You can’t trust everyone that you meet
I’m so lucky
He’s the only on I’ll ever need
He will blast off tonight
He puts his life on the line
Everytime he’s in flight
A man you can’t trace
But our love will last beyond time and space

He’s a spacer
A star chaser
A spacer
...

 

 

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MAYDAY


Mayday, hey ! I'm in trouble, mayday

Mayday, hey ! I'm in trouble, mayday

Mayday, hey ! I'm in trouble, mayday

Mayday, hey ! I'm in trouble, mayday

My heart is exploding
My engines are going
Cool, cool
Oil is escaping
And seems to be taking you
My panel is steaming
And now I can't even
Steer, dear
But the reason why I'm crashing is cause you can't raise
Your landing gear

Mayday, hey !
I'm in trouble, mayday
Mayday, hey !
I'm in trouble, mayday
Mayday, hey !
I'm in trouble, mayday
Mayday, hey !
I'm in trouble, mayday

I'm headed for disaster
I can't go no faster
Doom, doom
Engines are stalling
For help, I'm calling you
Papa zulu x-ray
My readings, four-niner
Three, three
Distress signal squelching I hope someone
Will rescue me

Mayday, hey !
I'm in trouble, mayday
Mayday, hey !
I'm in trouble, mayday
Mayday, hey !
I'm in trouble, mayday
Mayday, hey !
I'm in trouble, mayday

Mayday, hey !
I'm in trouble, mayday
Mayday, hey !
I'm in trouble, mayday
Hey ! hey ! hey ! hey ! mayday.

 

 

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CHARGE PLATES AND CREDIT CARDS

With my charge plates and credit cards
Making my life hard
With my charge plates and credit cards
I know I can go far

Worked hard so many years
To get my references together
Paid all my bills right on time
And then my friends they told me better
I applied for master charge
A diner's club and a visa
And now I'm buyin' everything in sight
I hear they're selling "La Mona Lisa"

With my charge plates and credit cards
Making my life hard
With my charge plates and credit cards
I know I can go far

With my charge plates and credit cards
Making my life hard
With my charge plates and credit cards
I know I can go far

American express became
My green and white and black lover
Then one morning it turned to gold
And took good care of me, like Big Brother
When the masters bills came in
I re-evaluated my spending
Now I've borrowed an assumed name
To see if any banks are still lending

With my charge plates and credit cards
Making my life hard
With my charge plates and credit cards
I know I can go far

With my charge plates and credit cards
Making my life hard
With my charge plates and credit cards
I know I can go far

With my charge plates and credit cards
Making my life hard
With my charge plates and credit cards
I know I can go far

With my charge plates and credit cards
Making my life hard
With my charge plates and credit cards
I know I can go far

With my charge plates and credit cards
Making my life hard
With my charge plates and credit cards
I know I can go far.

 

 

 

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MISERY

Misery is a part of me
Makes me
Open up my eyes to see

My life's grown
From the hearts I've known
In misery
My heart was torn
From the day I was born
It's a mistery
I'm tired of all this running
I can't slow down 'cause I know what's coming
I just hope I can make it
'Cause my heart just can't take it
No more

Misery is a part of me
Makes me
Open up my eyes to see

Misery is a part of me
Makes me
Open up my eyes to see

It's a pity and a shame
There's no one to blame
It's destiny
It's hard to continue
When all's on the menu
Is misery
End it all it's so inviting
I think I'll try something more exciting
I just hope I can make it
'Cause my heart just can't take it
No more

Misery is a part of me
Makes me
Open up my eyes to see

Misery is a part of me
Makes me
Open up my eyes to see

Misery is a part of me
Makes me
Open up my eyes to see

Misery is a part of me
Makes me
Open up my eyes to see

Misery is a part of me
Makes me
Open up my eyes to see

Misery is a part of me
Makes me
Open up my eyes to see.

 

 

 

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  • King of the world
  • Cover girls
  • Your love is good
  • Don't go
 

KING OF THE WORLD

I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world
I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world
I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world
I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world

One fine day
He got a letter marked "Best chance on Earth"
It did say
The driver who crosses the finish line first
Would represent the total population
Of his occupation, massive concentration
Would be needed and détermination to win
The title the Fasted Driving man

I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world
I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world
I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world
I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world

Day of the race
He had a doubtful look on his face
It made me say
All of your life you waited just for today
Then he went out and won the pole position
Oh, his composition foiled the opposition
It looked like there was no competition then
I saw him get the chequered flag

I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world
I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world
I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world
I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world

I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world
I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world
I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world
I'm in love with the king of, the king of the world

 

 

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COVER GIRLS

Crazy world of cover girls
The crazy world of cover girls

Get up at five
Not quite alive
I've lived the last three nights on dry Martinis
Although it's winter time
They make me pose outside in a bikini
My skin is wash and wear
Got rainbows in my hair
Oh what a sight !
I've got a flair
That makes the people stare
And I'll go anywhere the price is right

Crazy world of cover girls
The crazy world of cover girls

Crazy world of cover girls
The crazy world of cover girls

I'm on the head sheet
But I still pound the beat
And my agent wants his ten percent
I do all the running
And I never make the money that I've spent
Sometimes I just can't take it
When my body's aching
Every place
But I keep on goin'
All the time I'm hopin'
I'm not just another pretty face

Crazy world of cover girls
The crazy world of cover girls
...

 

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YOUR LOVE IS GOOD

Your love is good, so good
Your love is good

Just like the beach, and gentle breeze
Your love is warm and soothing
Like the finest candy I'll ever eat
The taste of your lips just can't be beat
And I'll wait for you baby, yeah, yeah
I'll wait for you baby, yeah
Cause you're more important than anything
Cause you give me more than everything

Your love is good, so good
Your love is good, so good
Your love is good, so good
Your love is good

In the evening when it's sleepy time
I'm comfortable cause I know you're mine
In the morning when we're waking up
I drink my coffee from your loving cup
And I'll stay with you baby, yeah, yeah
Wanna stay with you baby, yeah
Cause I know I can confide in you
You know I always tell the truth

Your love is good, so good
Your love is good, so good
Your love is good, so good
Your love is good

Your love is good, so good...

 

 

 

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DON'T GO

Don’t go
Don’t go
Don’t I love you so
Don’t go
Don’t go
Don’t I love you so

You tell me
That you’re walking out the door
And sell me lines
Like you don’t love me no more
One fine day
I know you will be surprised
When you realize
All the love I feel inside
Make me, ooh
Baby, make me understand
You want to be
Be my one and only man
And I’ll give you
All the loving that I can
So please don’t go, don’t go

Don’t go
Don’t go
Don’t I love you so
Don’t go
Don’t go
Don’t I love you so

Don’t go
Don’t go
Don’t I love you so
Don’t go
Don’t go
Don’t I love you so

Just whisper
Oh so softly in my ear
And say to me
All the things I want to hear
Put your faith
In me, and I’ll make it right
Stay with me
And love right thru the night
There’s no regrets
All my memories are good
And I won’t forget
I just hope its understood
You call me
Anytime you want my love
Please don’t go, don’t go

Don’t go
Don’t go
Don’t I love you so
Don’t go
Don’t go
Don’t I love you so
...

 

 

 

 

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