wax Poetics

Light of the World

Light of the World

Released 1979
record label Ensign Records/PolyGram
Written by Roseann V. Warren

Light of the World <i>Light of the World</i>
Light of the World Light of the World

The year of 1979 in the U.K. was known as the “Winter of Discontent.” The country experienced public-worker strikes, energy and food shortages causing thousands of schools to close, billions in cuts to public spending, a tanking economy, the beginnings of Thatcherism, and the Yorkshire Ripper was on a rampage.

Within the chaos, something magical was occurring in the underground London club scene. Brit funk emerged from the influence of new wave, jazz fusion, funk, and urban dance rhythms with pop hooks, and was significant in bridging racial divides, bringing Black and white musicians together, creating a homogeneous environment in music. 

Guitarist Neville “Breeze” McKrieth met Kenny Wellington at one of the infamous Friday afternoon “soul sessions” at the Soho club Crackers and invited him to attend a rehearsal with a group of like-minded musicians. This led to the birth of Light of the World, who, alongside Hi-Tension, were forerunners of the Brit-funk movement. They were influenced by Kool and the Gang’s Light of Worlds album, a landmark in jazz-funk fusion. Over the next few years, Light of the World perfected a sound that honored their U.S. counterparts while injecting a British sensibility, including abstaining from singing with American accents. 

By 1979, their self-titled debut was released on Ensign Records, with the first single “Swingin’,” which hit #45 on the U.K. R&B chart, and the bass-driven “Midnight Groovin’,” with its percussion and accented horns, both becoming club favorites. The equanimous “Dreams” featured a young Miki Howard and was a salute to Kool and the Gang. Light of the World’s sophomore album, Round Trip, produced by Augie Johnson of Side Effect, featured their most notable track, “London Town” (written by Howard and Johnson), a track that was later reworked by Japanese singer Yasuko Agawa as “L.A. Nights.”

A band of eight members predictably came with disputes, tragedies, and a rotation of members leaving and being replaced. Despite having a solid three-year run, the group disbanded, with members moving on to create derivative bands that were equally as important to the Brit-funk movement. Breeze, Kenny Wellington, and David Baptise formed Beggar & Co. and enjoyed Top 40 hits with “(Somebody) Help Me Out” and “Mule (Chant No. 2)” as well as being featured heavily on Spandau Ballet’s Diamond album, which included the top three single “Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On).” Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick, Peter “Stepper” Hines, and Paul “Tubbs” Williams formed the world-renowned Incognito, and Gee Bello and Nat Augustin continued to sporadically tour as Light of the World, with different configurations of new members. As evidenced over the past forty years, Light of the World is impossible to dim, whether onstage or on their time-tested recordings, still shining to this day.

this is part of "Women in Music: Artists & Writers" Story

Featuring selected articles that display women’s important and versatile contributions to music, from the artists to the writers.




Feature

The Ladies of Chic

Chic created sophisticated dance music draped in mystery and anchored in the unison singing of a rotating cast of female vocalists.


Written by A. D. Amorosi

The Ladies of Chic






Feature

Coco Maria

Coco Maria took a roundabout route from child musician in Mexico to Worldwide FM DJ based in Amsterdam.


Written by Bret Sjerven

Coco Maria


Feature

Nina Simone

Nina Simone had no filter. She spoke with candor about civil rights when many in her position didn’t dare. She sang about uncomfortable subjects.... 


Written by Michael A. Gonzales

Nina Simone







Feature

Earth, Wind & Fire

Willed into being by one man, Earth, Wind & Fire became one of the biggest acts of the 1970s. 


Written by Ericka Blount Danois

Earth, Wind & Fire



Feature

Aaliyah

On the heels of her best-selling debut, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, fifteen-year-old Aaliyah was rocked by a sex scandal that would have crushed a lesser talent. 


Written by Michael A. Gonzales

Aaliyah

Feature

Bobby Caldwell

Blue-eyed-soul brother Bobby Caldwell took over the pop and R&B airways with his massive hit “What You Won’t Do for Love” in the late ’70s. With a smooth, soulful...


Written by Marisa Aveling

Bobby Caldwell





Feature

The Internet

Syd tha Kyd and Matt Martians have emerged from production, engineering, and DJing roles within the Odd Future crew to claim their own stake in the movement of Black musical expression. 


Written by Andre Torres

The Internet



Feature

Daymé Arocena

Daymé Arocena is a burst of light energy—an interstellar body in the constellation of Afro-Cuban world music.


Written by Tamara P. Carter

Daymé Arocena











Having a Party
Re:discovery
Pointer Sisters %Having a Party%
Pointer Sisters Having a Party

United States,


Oo-La-La
Re:discovery
<i>Oo-La-La</i>
Sarah Dash Oo-La-La

USA,



Light of the World
Re:discovery
Light of the World <i>Light of the World</i>
Light of the World Light of the World

United Kingdom,


Sweet and Nice
Re:discovery
Marcia Griffiths - Sweet and Nice
Marcia Griffiths Sweet and Nice

Jamaica,



Kimiko
Re:discovery
Kimiko Kasai <i>Kimiko</i>
Kimiko Kasai Kimiko

Japan,






Feature

The Roots

The Roots first hit the national spotlight as a live hip-hop act with their 1993 indie debut, Organix...


Written by Ericka Blount Danois

The Roots






Feature

Little Dragon

Little Dragon’s brand of electronic future funk and fractured pop-soul was delivered the old-fashioned way, through nonstop touring.


Written by Allen Thayer

Little Dragon