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  • Photo du rédacteurRalph Ruiz

Sheila & B. Devotion's post "Love Me Baby" era: a Disco Epiphany (1977-1979)

Among the label mates of the Luv' ladies at Carrere Records during their heyday was French singer Sheila (who fronted the disco group Sheila & B. Devotion between 1977 and 1980).

Last year saw the 45th anniversary of Sheila & B. Devotion's international breakthrough disco hit "Love Me Baby", which charted in Europe and beyond. Following this worldwide triumph and before her fruitful collaboration with Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards on "Spacer", the French chanteuse released memorable disco material, including the "Love Me Baby - Singin' in the Rain" album and a string of hit singles (Singin' In The Rain, Hôtel de la Plage, I Don't Need A Doctor, You Light My Fire, Seven Lonely Days and No, No, No).

Here's an overview of Sheila & B. Devotion's career between the autumn of 1977 and the summer of 1979.

October 24th, 1977, saw the release of the "Love Me Baby - Singin' in the Rain" album, including a disco cover version of the classic hit "Singin' In The Rain" made famous by Gene Kelly in 1952.

Love Me Baby / Singin' In The Rain - album by Sheila B. Devotion (original French front cover)

Album credits

A side:

1 Love Me Baby - 3:40

Copperman, M. Wickfield, P. Forest, P. Racer

2 Shake Me - 4:45

Copperman, M. Wickfield, P. Forest, P. Racer

3 Kiss Me Sweetie - 7:00

Copperman, M. Wickfield, P. Forest, P. Racer

B side:

1 Singin' In The Rain - 7:13

Arthur Freed, Nacio Herb Brown

2 I Don't Need A Doctor - 3:50

Copperman, M. Wickfield, P. Forest, P. Racer

3 Move It 3:45

Copperman, M. Wickfield, P. Forest, P. Racer

4 Instrumental S.B. 3:40

Copperman, M. Wickfield, P. Forest, P. Racer

Claude Carrere and the songwriting team used pseudonyms:

Claude Carrère as "Paul Racer"

Mathias Camison as "Mike Wickfield"

Youssif Achir Chemouny (Gilbert Chemouny) as "Copperman"

Pamela Forrest as "P. Forest"

Recorded and mixed at Morgan Studio and Air Studio London, July, August, September 1977

Sound Engineers– Lindsay Kidd, Mike Stavrou

Remixed at Co. Be Studio by Lloyd Subway

Assistants – Nigel Green, Steve Churchyard

All songs sung by Sheila and composed by M. Wickfield, P. Racer, Copperman and P. Forest

Singin' In The Rain is composed by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed

Themes "I Like It" and "Soft Silver Rain" (included in Singin' In The Rain) by M. Wickfield and P. Racer. Arrangements by M. Wickfield and P. Racer

Design (Cover Design) – Mike Carson

Photography (Cover Photo) – Paul Rody

Lead Vocals – Sheila

Musicians :

Barry De Souza (Drums & Percussions), Guitar Slim & the Devil Machine (Guitars), Martin Ford, David Katz and the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Strings and Brass section), Bruce Lynch (Bass), Frank Pert (Brass)

℗ 1977 Carrere

Sheila & B. Devotion's record came out in various editions, depending on which countries the release took place. Click here to be informed about the several editions and reissues of the album.

Singin' In The Rain - Album by Sheila B. Devotion (alternate edition)

In late 1977 and early 1978, Sheila promoted her disco version of "Singin' In The Rain" on the main European TV shows, including AVRO's TopPop in the Netherlands, Midi Première on TF1 (France), Les rendez-Vous du Dimanche on TF1 (France), Musikladen on Radio Bremen (Germany), and Sanremo Festival on RAI 1 (Italy).

Singin' In The Rain by Sheila B. Devotion on Musikladen (Radio Bremen, Germany) on January 19th, 1978

Sheila & B. Devotion performing Singin' In the Rain on "Numero Un : Michel Sardou", broadcast on January 28th, 1978 on TF1

Sheila's strategy to perform her cover of Gene Kelly's signature song on European TV programs paid off as the single became an international sensation.

Singin' In The Rain was Sheila & B. Devotion's single which charted the most abroad. Here are its peak positions:

  • #3 on the Europarade (Europe)

  • #3 on the SNEP Singles Chart - 560.000 copies sold (France)

  • #11 on the UK Singles Chart - 200.00 copies sold (UK)

  • #23 on the Kent Report (Australia)

  • #14 on the Asociación Fonográfica Española Singles Chart (Spain)

  • #3 on the Musica e dischi Singles Chart (Italy)

  • #2 on the Topplistan (Sweden)

  • #2 on the BT Hitlisten (Denmark)

  • #4 on the Suomen virallinen lista Singles Chart (Finland)

  • #6 on the Musikmarkt/Media Control Charts (Germany)

  • #2 on the Ultratop (Flanders - Belgium)

  • #4 on the Nationale Hitparade (Netherlands)

  • #3 on the Dutch Top 40 (Netherlands)

  • #3 on the Music E Som Billboard Charts (Portugal)

  • #23 on the Schweizer Hitparade (Switzerland)

  • #10 on the Lyons Maid Hits Of The Week - Rhodesian Singles Chart (Zimbabwe)

  • #11 on the Springbok Top 20 (South Africa)

  • #30 on the Dance Club Songs (Billboard - USA)

  • #6 on the Palmarès de la Chanson (Quebec - Canada)

  • #15 on Reshet Gimmel's foreign singles chart (Israel)

The million-selling "Love Me Baby - Singin' In The Rain" album also did well on the charts:

  • #2 on the SNEP albums chart - 200.000 copies sold (France)

  • #8 on the #4 on the Suomen virallinen lista albums Chart (Finland)

  • #4 on the Musica E Dischi Albums Chart (Italy)

  • #8 on the Topplistan - Albums Chart (Sweden)

  • #4 on the Turkish Hey Albums Chart

  • #48 on the Kent Music Report (Australia)

Sheila, photographed in London in early 1978, conquered Europe, including United Kingdom

On February 20th, 1978, Carrere Records released "Hôtel de la Plage" as the disco theme song from the film of the same name. The B side was "I Don't Need A Doctor", a track taken from the Singin' In The Rain album. Sheila & B. Devotion sang both songs only on French television, in addition to Singin' in the Rain's international promotion. "Hôtel de la plage/I Don't Need A Doctor" only charted in France, Belgium and Quebec (Canada).

I Don't Need A Doctor / Hôtel de la Plage - chart performance:

  • #7 on the SNEP Singles Chart - 343.000 copies sold (France)

  • #20 on the Ultratop (Flanders - Belgium)

  • #34 on the Palmarès de la chanson (Quebec - Canada)

I Don't Need A Doctor by Sheila & B. Devotion on Blue Jeans (Antenne 2, February 26th, 1978)

Hôtel de la plage by Sheila & B. Devotion on Top Club (France, April 19th, 1978)

Sheila & B. Devotion performing "I Don't Need A Doctor" on Top Club (Antenne 2, France, April 22nd, 1978)

In March 1978, Sheila's Singin' In The Rain album and single were licensed to Casablanca Records to be released in the United States, where it became a radio and club hit. Casablanca was home to successful recording artists such as Kiss, Parliament, Donna Summer and Village People.

Casablanca Records' promotional poster for Singin' In The Rain by Sheila & B. Devotion

On May 25th, 1978, a dream came true when Sheila met the Hollywood legend Gene Kelly, who made "Singin' In The Rain" a worldwide sensation, in Los Angeles, California. This meeting was part of Sheila's promotion of her disco cover version of this timeless classic hit song in the USA.

Sheila & Gene Kelly

Sheila continued her promo tour through California, including photo sessions in famous spots (including Venice Beach). The artist even posed with the American rock and roll singer Tommy Roe and the Hells Angels for unexpected pictures.

Sheila with Tommy Roe. The singer's stage name came from the title of her first release, a French cover version of "Sheila", a hit by Tommy Roe.

Sheila & The Hells Angels

On June 19th, 1978, Carrere Records released "You Light My Fire" as the follow-up single to "Singin' In the Rain" and "Hôtel De La Plage/I Don't Need A Doctor". This song was written by Claude Carrère as Paul Racer, Mathias Camison as Mike Wickfield and Pamela Forrest as P Forest.

Once again, Sheila and her dancers did their best to perform their song on Europe's most-watched TV shows during the summer of 1978.

On June 25th, 1978, Sheila & B. Devotion sang "You light My Fire" on Michel Drucker's TV program "Les Rendez-Vous Du Dimanche" on TF1. A short interview followed. The legendary French TV host was impressed by Sheila's worldwide success. "I recently went to Argentina for the 1978 FIFA World Cup. I met Italian and German colleagues there, and they know Miss Sheila. You are famous in almost all European countries. I listened to one of your songs in a record shop in Buenos Aires. Your records were well promoted there next to Julio Iglesias' ones. You are number one in all the British discos. Singin' In The Rain is the "record of the week" on one New York radio station, which means it's played every hour," Michel Drucker said. When asked how her recent promo tour in the USA and her meeting with Gene Kelly happened, Sheila answered: "We went to America. It was a dream come true. Gene Kelly is a wonderful person. I sang "Singin' In The Rain" with his children. I remain down to earth because the USA are a big country. We are rolling through the international marketplace due to Singin' In The Rain. A singer can succeed in California and, at the same time, be unknown in New York. We've had a hit record with "Singin' In The Rain", an American classic song. Now we have to do our best with a new song, "You Light My Fire", and new material".

Sheila interviewed by Michel Drucker on Les Rendez-Vous Du Dimanche on June 25th, 1978

You Light My Fire by Sheila & B. Devotion on "Numero Un : Michel Sardou (July 1st, 1978, TF1, France)

The August 12th, 1978 issue of Billboard magazine featured an article about French disco's success in the USA, featuring Sheila & B. Devotion, Cerrone and Santa Esmeralda. Click here to read it.

Billboard Magazine - August 12th, 1978

Claude Carrere's strategy to conquer the international music market with Sheila & B. Devotion and other productions was explained in the Bible of the recording industry. An ad to promote "You Light My Fire" was even published in the highly influential magazine.

Excerpts from Billboard magazine - August 12th, 1978

Carrere ad for "You Light My Fire" published in Billboard magazine

One highlight of Sheila's European promo tour was her performance during the Festivalbar at the Verona Arena in Italy, which drew 30.000 spectators. This event was broadcast on RAI on September 17th, 1978.

Sheila & B. Devotion at the Festivalbar in Verona, Italy on September 17th, 1978

Patrick Juvet and Sheila, backstage at Festivalbar

You Light My Fire by Sheila & B. Devotion on Festivalbar (September 17th, 1978, RAI, Italy)

Although it was not as popular as "Love Me Baby" and "Singin' In The Rain", "You Light My Fire" entered the record charts of several countries:

  • #16 on the TROS Europarade (Europe)

  • #44 on the UK Singles Chart

  • #13 on the Irish Singles Chart

  • #9 on the SNEP Singles Chart (France) - 174.000 copies sold

  • #31 on the Musica e dischi Singles Chart (Italy)

  • #36 on the Musikmarkt/Media Control Charts (Germany)

  • #36 on the Palmarès de la chanson (Quebec - Canada)

  • #2 on the Turkish Hey singles chart

In early 1979, Sheila decided to cover another American classic song: "Seven Lonely Days", written by Earl Shuman, Alden Shuman, and Marshall Brown. It was originally recorded by American singer Georgia Gibbs peaking at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1953 in the USA.

Carrere Records released "Seven Lonely Days" by Sheila B. Devotion on February 19th, 1979.

Due to its poor commercial performance, Carrere put out a remix of the song entitled "Seven Lonely Days - New American Recording" in March 1979. The remix was highly inspired by the orchestration of Amii Stewart's Knock On Wood. As a result, it boosted the single's sales.

Thanks to the release of "Seven Lonely Days", Sheila had the opportunity to sing her song on the most popular European TV programs (Midi Première, Top Club, Musikladen, Aplauso...).

Sheila B. Devotion - Seven Lonely Days on Disco (June 25th, 1979, ZDF, Germany)

Seven Lonely Days by Sheila B. Devotion on Disco (ZDF)

Seven Lonely Days charted in the following countries:

  • #7 on the SNEP Singles Chart (France) - 229.000 copies sold

  • #16 on the Topplistan (Sweden)

  • #50 on the Musikmarkt/Media Control Charts (Germany)

  • #3 on the Turkish Hey singles chart

The follow-up single "No. No. No. No" discreetly came out on July 16th, 1979. Sheila didn't perform it on TV. However, French radio stations played it.

"No, No, No, No" peaked at #28 in France and sold 81.000 copies. The track appeared on the Disque D'or compilation, which featured Sheila's previous disco hits (Love Me Baby, Singin' In The Rain, Hôtel de la Plage, I Don't Need A Doctor, You Light My Fire and Seven Lonely Days).

Disque d'Or by Sheila & B. Devotion, including the disco hits released between 1977 and 1979

During the summer of 1979, Sheila and her team were secretly in touch with Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic (famous for the multi-million-selling singles "Le Freak" (1978) and "Good Times" (1979) and "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge (1979). Rodgers and Edwards wanted to collaborate with Sheila. But that's another story...

Sheila's postcard sent from New York to her fan club on September 24th, 1979. The singer informed her admirers about her collaboration with Chic.

Source: Sheila Officiel, Sheila - On dit... (blog),, YouTube, Discogs...

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