Leo Sayer





Leo Sayer, born Gerard Sayer, on May 21st, 1948, in Sussex, England, fronted "the Terraplane Blues Band" and "Phydeaux" while a Sussex art student before moving to London, where he supplemented his wages as a typographic designer by street busking. In 1971, he formed a band called "Patches" who were managed by Dave Courtney, to whose melodies he provided lyrics. Speculating in artist management, Courtney's former employer, Adam Faith, found the group ultimately unimpressive and chose only to promote its most animated member, Sayer.

During initial sessions at Roger Daltrey's studio, the Who's vocalist was sufficiently impressed by the raw material to record some Courtney-Sayer numbers himself. These included "Giving It All Away', Daltrey"s biggest solo hit.

As for Sayer, his debut, "Why Is Everybody Going Home?" brought him little success. His next effort though, 1973's single "The Show Must Go On" was a No. 1 hit in the U.K., but he was shut out of the American charts when Three Dog Night's cover version went to Number One. They had seen Leo on British television dressed as a mime and so appeared on U.S. TV, in their interpretation of Leo as circus clowns. Ironically they also changed (or maybe misread) Leo's lyric from "I won't let the show go on" to "I must let the show go on. Leo was annoyed at this, but the success of Leo and David's songs in a new market set the scene for the first U.S. tour. Leo made an immediate impact on the audiences there, and the biggest names in the music industry turned out to see the boy with the white face and white suit.

The following year he released his first album, "Silver Bird", which was followed quickly by "Just a Boy", that included the single, "Long Tall Glasses", a song that went into the Top Ten on both sides of the Atlantic.

In 1975, the Sayer/Courtney songwriting partnership ended during the recording of the "Another Year" album. Sayer found another collaborator in Frank Furrell, formerly of Supertramp. The 1976 album "Endless Flight", the first for the new partnership, was a huge success. Endless Flight went platinum in America and spawned two hit singles, "When I Need You." and "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" which won a Grammy for Best R&B Song.

Leo Sayer was flying high in 1977 when the BBC engaged him for two television series. However, with the title track of "Thunder In My Heart" halting just outside the UK Top 20, hits suddenly became harder to come by.

Though Sayer's late '70s albums proved to be disappointments, a greatest hits compilation, issued in 1979, breathed new life into his career. With a big orchestra added to Leo's act, he co-headlined a tour with Bill Cosby. In 1980, Leo had a welcome return to the charts with 'More Than I Can Say', a classic song written by Jerry Alison and Sonny Curtis from Buddy Holly's backing group The Crickets, and originally recorded by Bobby Vee. It went to No.2 in the U.S.A. and Britain.

The next year, Sayer again hit the U.S. charts with "Living In A Fantasy." He hosted two more self titled TV series for the BBC and during 1983 and 1984, appeared on talk shows, television specials and music shows. Following his last U.S. chart entry in 1983 with "Till You Come Back To Me", Leo's star seemed to fade.

By the late 80s, Sayer was without a recording contract, having severed his long-standing relationship with Chrysalis Records and was reduced to self-financing his UK tours. A legal wrangle with his former manager, Adam Faith, resulted in Sayer reportedly receiving 650,000 in lost royalties. Although a financial settlement was agreed, it was nowhere near the figure quoted, although Sayer did get back the ownership of his masters and song publishing rights. His recording career recommenced in 1990 after signing to EMI Records and being reunited with producer Alan Tarney.

Between 1991 and 1996, Leo's career progressed steadily along similar lines, tours of the Far East and Australia, some recording, some writing and co - writing, but there was no real breakthrough.

Then in 1997, Leo received an offer for a season of shows at The Cafe Royal, in the heart of London's West End. There was a press call, and representatives from the tabloid newspapers turned up to the opening night. A couple of journalists from The Sun newspaper ended up backstage after the show, raving about what they'd seen, and their next day's edition featured the start of a campaign to 'Bring back Leo Sayer'. Also at this time, a group calling themselves The Groove Generation hit the UK charts with a 90's style re-working of Leo's classic 'You Make Me Feel Like Dancing'. This opened up an entirely new performance market to Leo and he started appearing in discos and at University dances and balls throughout the UK to a younger crowd, who thought he was the epitome of chic. The seventies revival had started, with Leo being one of the great pace setters. The Sun kept on flying the flag for Leo and soon he was the darling of the scene again, the much awaited comeback of Leo Sayer becoming a media and music business reality.

In 2000, "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" was featured in the film, Charlie's Angels and was included on the accompanying soundtrack album. In 2005, Sayer moved to Sydney, Australia, where he continues to live. Not much was heard from Leo until February, 2006, when he made a surprise return to number one on the UK singles chart with a remix of "Thunder In My Heart", his first appearance in the UK Top 10 in nearly 24 years. In March of that year, "Leo Sayer: At His Very Best", a career-spanning compilation LP, was released in the UK. He also made several TV appearances in Great Britain, including Celebrity Big Brother UK in 2007. In 2008, Leo released a new album in Australia called "Don't Wait Until Tomorrow", which featured re-arranged selections from his past recordings. For 2012, Leo planned an extensive tour of Australia and Europe.