Leo Sayer

Leo Sayer
Release date
01 January 1970
Leo Sayer
01 January 1970 |

Sayer began his music career co-writing songs with David Courtney, including “Giving It All Away”, which gave Roger Daltrey of The Who his first solo hit in 1973. The same year, Sayer began his career as a recording artist under the management of Adam Faith, who signed Sayer to the Chrysalis label in the United Kingdom and Warner Bros. Records in the United States.

His debut single “Why Is Everybody Going Home” failed to chart, but he achieved national prominence in the United Kingdom with his second single, the music hall styled song “The Show Must Go On”, which Sayer performed on British television, wearing a Pierrot costume and makeup. The single went to #2 on the chart in the United Kingdom, as did his debut album Silverbird, co-written with David Courtney, who co-produced the album with Adam Faith. Three Dog Night’s cover, the group’s last Hot 100 top 10 record, reached #4 on 25 May 1974.

His subsequent singles were all major hits in the United Kingdom – “One Man Band” went to #6 in 1974, “Long Tall Glasses” (UK #4, 1974) became his first Top Ten hit in the United States, reaching #9, and “Moonlighting” went to #2 in the United Kingdom in 1975. In 1976, Sayer recorded three Beatles songs, “I Am the Walrus”, “Let It Be”, and “The Long and Winding Road” for the Beatles-themed concept film, All This and World War II. His albums in this period were also consistently successful in the United Kingdom: he scored five consecutive Top 10 placings on the United Kingdom album chart between 1973 and 1977.

Sayer performing on Dutch television in 1974
He also garnered success as an album artist in the United States, beginning with his second LP Just A Boy (1974), which reached #16. His fourth album Endless Flight (1976) consolidated his international popularity, reaching #4 in the United Kingdom and #10 in the United States; it also charted strongly in other countries including Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, and was certified as a platinum album in both the United Kingdom and the United States, and double-platinum in Canada.

The peak of his career came in 1977, when he achieved two consecutive number one hits in the United States, first with the disco-styled “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” (a Grammy Award winner for the year’s best Rhythm and Blues Song), followed by the romantic ballad, “When I Need You” (1977), which reached number one in both the United Kingdom and United States. Written by Albert Hammond and Carole Bayer Sager, it was Sayer’s first #1 single in the United Kingdom (after three number two hits).[7] It was also the first of two chart-toppers in a row in the United Kingdom for producer Richard Perry.
While touring Memphis in August 1977, his knee faltered and he was taken to the hospital by a security guard who also worked for Elvis Presley. A couple of days later he and Presley made arrangements to meet, but on the day they had scheduled to visit at Graceland, Presley died. Sayer stated so in a TV interview on the UK show Lorraine, broadcast 3 May 2017.

In 1979, the compilation album The Very Best of Leo Sayer became Sayer’s first United Kingdom No. 1 LP and his seventh consecutive United Kingdom Top 20 album – but, despite his popularity there, it failed to chart in the United States (probably due to its not being released in the U.S.). Sayer also guest-starred in the second episode of the third season of The Muppet Show, and performed “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”, “The Show Must Go On”, and “When I Need You”.
Sayer also made cover versions of Bobby Vee’s Sonny Curtis-Jerry Allison composition “More Than I Can Say” (his fourth UK #2 hit and US #2), and Buddy Holly’s “Raining in My Heart” (1979) and “Orchard Road” in 1983. In the United States, three of his singles – “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” (1977), “When I Need You” (1977) and “More Than I Can Say” (1980) – were certified gold.[citation needed]
Sayer provided songs for the soundtrack of the French–Belgian animated film The Missing Link (Le Chainon manquant) in 1980. In 1981, he voiced Dan the forest ranger in The Raccoons on Ice, the second of four specials serving as a predecessor to the Canadian animated series The Raccoons. He also sang several songs for the special, all of which were included on the 1983 album Lake Freeze.

In 1990, he contributed to the last studio collaboration between Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, Woolfson’s solo album Freudiana, performing “I Am A Mirror”.[10] Sayer performed at the Sanremo Music Festival in 1990, with “The Moth And The Flame” (English version of “Tu… sì” by Mango) and, in 1991, with “All Alone” (English version of “Dubbi No” by Mietta).