Light Of The World were originally a forerunner of the late 1970s/early 1980s British jazz-funk movement. The band's name is taken from the 1974 Kool and the Gang album, Light of Worlds. The band was formed by Breeze McKrieth, Kenny Wellington, Paul Williams, Jean Paul Maunick and David Baptiste. McKreith, Wellington and Baptiste also formed the offshoot band Beggar & Co. Maunick and Williams also formed the band Incognito.
- 2 Various other line-ups and spin-offs
- 3 Benefit concert
- 4 Discography
- 5 References
The band's original 1978 line up was:
- Kenny Wellington (trumpet, flugelhorn, percussion, vocals, horn arrangements, producer)
- David 'Baps' Baptiste (saxophone, flute, percussion, vocals, arrangements)
- Chris Etienne (percussion)
- Peter 'Stepper' Hinds (keyboards)
- Jean-Paul 'Bluey' Maunick (guitar, lead and backing vocals, producer)
- Everton McCalla (drums)
- Neville 'Breeze' McKrieth (guitar, lead and backing vocals, producer)
- Paul 'Tubbs' Williams (bass, lead and backing vocals)
'Gee' Bello (percussion, vocals) and Nat Augustin (guitar, vocals) joined the band after the death of Chris Etienne in a road accident and the departure of Jean Paul Maunick.
- Norman Walker (percussion)
- Earl Appleton (keyboards)
- Junior King (drums)
- Roger Thomas (saxophone)
The following members joined the line-up in 1979, after the recording of the first album. The band were already signed to Ensign Records/Polygram, and this followed the death of Chris Etienne when the band were in involved in a motorway crash. After auditions, Nat Augustin and Ganiyu Bello, who had travelled from Manchester, joined the band. The band recorded a second album 'Round Trip' with producer Augie Johnson of the American group Side Effect and later a prominent member of The L.A. Boppers. The recording also featured Wayne Henderson, Bobby Lyle and Miki Howard as well as string arrangements by Jorge Dalto. This was followed by a successful tour which was billed as Light of the World and Beggar & Co due to the commercial success of the Beggar & Co recording 'Somebody Help Me Out' from Wellington, Baptiste and McKrieth who had originally formed Beggar & Co as a splinter group to operate much in the same way as the George Clinton bands, Parliament and Funkadelic.'Somebody Help Me Out' had sold 300,000 copies in the UK as well as being reasonably successful in other territories.
The band split up for the first time in 1981.
Wellington, Baptiste and McKreith continued Beggar and Co, after their first recording had hit the Top 20 in the UK Singles Chart with "(Somebody) Help Me Out". This was followed by work on theSpandau Ballet track, "Chant No. 1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On)", which reached #3 in the UK Singles Chart. A second single 'Mule (Chant No.2)also entered British Hit Singles Top 40. Maunick, Hinds and Williams formed Incognito. Bello and Augustin continued briefly as Light Of The World, before recording solo material for EMI and Polydor. Peter Hinds was also a member of Atmosfear.
There was a brief Light Of The World reunion in 1982, featuring the American drummer, William Billy Carson, just before Bello and Augustin embarked on their solo recordings.
In 1985, Wellington and McKrieth reformed the band after working on some remixes with DJ, John Morales. This included a remix of the tracks "London Town" and "Time". Light Of The World reformed briefly again in 1990, recording for Chrysalis.
Various configurations followed, including the single 'Keep The Dream Alive' with Kenny Wellington and Nat Augustin, produced by Simon Law. This was followed by a configuration of Kenny Wellington and Bello with Jean Paul Maunick in charge of production, for another single 'One Destination'. Bello had also put together another splinter group called The Team, and had dance floor success with the track 'Wicki Wacki House Party'. In the meantime Augustin replaced Ashley Ingram in the group Imagination and recorded the album 'Fascination Of The Physical'.
In 1999, Wellington assembled most of the original band, including McKrieth and Baptiste, to produce another album along with the experienced Richard Bull who had previously produced tracks for Incognito. The CD 'Inner Voices' was released by Sanctuary in 1999.
In 2009 some of the original members of the band were working together once again, with a line-up including Wellington, McKrieth, Baptiste, Maunick and Hinds and played some dates in the UK.
Although no original members are involved, Bello and Augustin who replaced Etienne and Maunick in the band perform as Light Of The World, with a new line up of musicians including drummer Mel Gaynor of the rock group Simple Minds who had played some tracks on the album 'Round Trip' years earlier. Nat Augustin also appears with a group called Sing Baby Sing a highly rated tribute to The Stylistics as well as a a popular tribute to George Benson on the UK cabaret circuit. Nat Augustin also appeared briefly on The X Factor talent show in the UK, making it through to the boot camp stage but was not unfortunately picked for the later rounds..
Gee Bello also performs a tribute act to the singer Errol Brown of the group Hot Chocolate. In 2007 Beggar & Co released a new CD, 'Brass, Strings N' Things' under the collective name of Beggar & Co featuring The Funk Jazz Collective. This was a live recording from The Jazz Cafe with an additional studio recording 'Coming Home To See My Baby' a cover version of The Fatback Band recording from the 70's.
Beggar & Co have released two CD's since 2010, The Legacy and Sleeping Giants. Both CD'S appeared in the American genre charts with Sleeping Giants proving the most popular, peaking at No.19 in the Amazon Classic R&B charts. Both The Legacy and Brass, Strings n 'Things entered the Amazon Avant Garde charts in North America. In 2006 EMI records issued the CD 'Anthology: Addicted To Funk' which featured tracks by Light of the World, Beggar & Co, Incognito and The Team as well as some previously unreleased material.
Founder member, Paul 'Tubbs' Williams died in early 2007, and a benefit concert was held for him at Dingwalls in Camden. This show featured all the original members back on stage, along with guests including Junior Giscombe, Kenny Thomas and Leee John formerly of Imagination.
- Light Of The World (Ensign 1979)
- Round Trip (Ensign 1980) - UK #73
- Remixed (Mercury 1981)
- Check Us Out (EMI 1982)
- Inner Voices (Sanctuary 1999)
- "Swingin'" (Ensign 12" 1979) - UK #45
- "Midnight Groovin'" (Ensign 12" 1979) - UK #72
- "The Boys In Blue" (Ensign 12" 1980)
- "This Is This" (Ensign 12" 1980)
- "London Town" (Ensign 12" 1980) - UK #41
- "Pete's Crusade" (Ensign 12" 1980)
- "I Shot The Sheriff" (Ensign 12" 1980) - UK #40
- "Time" (Mercury 12" Remix 1980)
- "I'm So Happy" / "Time" (Mercury 12" 1981) - UK #35
- "Somebody Help Me Out" (Ensign Records 1981) by Beggar & Co - UK #15
- "Mule Chant No.2" (RCA 1981) by Beggar & Co - UK # 27
- "Ride The Love Train" (EMI 1981) - UK #49
- "No. 1 Girl" (EMI 12" 1982)
- "Keep The Dream Alive" (1990)
- "Expansions" (Ensign 1992)
- "Got To Get Your Own" (Ensign 1992)
- "City Life" (Sanctuary 1999)
- "Slow Down" (Sanctuary 1999)