||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2010)|
Leo Sayer in 2009
|Birth name||Gerard Hugh Sayer|
21 May 1948 |
Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England
|Genres||Pop, rock, pop rock, soft rock, disco|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, harmonica|
|Labels||Chrysalis (United Kingdom)
Warner Bros. and Rhino (United States)
|Associated acts||Roger Daltrey|
Leo Sayer (born Gerard Hugh Sayer on 21 May 1948) is a British-born singer-songwriter musician, and entertainer (now an Australian citizen and resident) whose singing career has spanned four decades. Sayer launched his career in the UK in the early 1970s and became a top singles and album act on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1970s. His first seven hit singles in the United Kingdom all reached the Top 10 – a feat first registered by his one-time manager, Adam Faith.
Sayer was born on 21 May 1948 to an Irish mother and English father in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England. He was initially discovered by musician David Courtney, who then co-managed him with the singer turned manager, Adam Faith.
In January 1967, while 18-year old Sayer was working as a hall porter at the King's Hotel in Hove, he assisted in the rescue of guests from a fire that damaged the first floor of the hotel. He was rescued by builders working on a block of flats beside the hotel.
That same year, Sayer began his career as a recording artist, under the guidance of his manager, former teen idol turned Adam Faith, who signed Sayer to the Chrysalis label in the UK and Warner Bros. Records in the USA. His debut single ""Why Is Everybody Going Home" failed to chart but he shot to national prominence in the UK with his second single "The Show Must Go On", which Sayer performed on British TV wearing a pierrot-style costume and make-up. The single went quickly to #2 on the UK chart, as did his debut album Silverbird, for which Sayer wrote nine of the eleven tracks; the other two tracks were co-written with Courtney, who co-produced the album with Adam Faith.
His subsequent singles were all major UK hits - "One Man Band" went to #6 in 1974; "Long Tall Glasses" (UK #4, 1974) became his first US Top Ten hit, reaching #9, and "Moonlighting" went to #2 in the UK 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 UK, and he scored five consecutive Top 10 placings on the UK album chart between 1973 and 1977. He also began to achieve success as an album artist in the USA, where his second LP Just A Boy (1974) reached #16. His fourth album Endless Flight (1976) consolidated his international popularity, reaching #4 in the UK and #10 in the USA; 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 UK and the USA, and double-platinum in Canada.
In 1977, he had a US number one 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 UK and US. Written by Albert Hammond and Carole Bayer Sager, it was Sayer's first UK chart-topper (after three number two hits) and his second successive US number one. It was also the first of two UK chart-toppers in a row for producer Richard Perry. In 1979 the compilation album The Very Best of Leo Sayer became Sayer's first UK #1 LP and his fifth consecutive Top 20 album in the UK, although curiously it failed to chart at all in the USA.
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 US, 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.
Sayer provided songs for the soundtrack of the French-Belgian animated film, Le Chainon manquant in 1980. In 1981 he was the voice of 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 the mid-1980s, when Sayer and his first wife Janice divorced, he discovered that former manager Adam Faith had badly mishandled his business affairs and that much of the millions of pounds Sayer had earned in the 1970s had been siphoned off through 'questionable expenses'. Sayer subsequently sued Faith for mismanagement; the case was eventually settled out of court in 1992, with Sayer receiving a reported payout of £650,000. In the early 1990s his career stalled while he fought a lengthy but ultimately successful legal battle against his former label, Chrysalis, to regain the publishing rights to his songs. In 1996 Sayer began legal action against his new management after he discovered that his pension fund had allegedly been mismanaged to the tune of some £1m. Unfortunately, despite spending more than £90,000 in legal fees, the case never made it to court and Sayer was forced to abandon it when he ran out of funds.
On 12 February 2006, he made a surprise return to number one in the UK Singles Chart, with Meck's remix of "Thunder In My Heart". It was his first appearance in the UK Top 10 for almost 24 years, and his second UK chart-topper, almost three decades after his first. Leo Sayer: At His Very Best, a career-spanning compilation album, was released in the UK on 6 March 2006. It featured the Meck single, alongside "When I Need You" and "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing". In 2008, Sayer released a new album in Australia, Don't Wait Until Tomorrow. This album, produced by Garth Porter (from the Australian pop band Sherbet), and released by Universal Music Australia, featured selections from his catalog in an entirely new setting, re-arranged with strings and acoustic and jazz instrumentation.
Sayer has appeared in various TV shows including The Muppet Show (1978's Episode 3.02 on which he sang "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing", "The Show Must Go On", and "When I Need You"); The Wiggles 2008 DVD, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, which featured Sayer's hit of the same name; Celebrity Big Brother UK in 2007; and the Australian television comedy, Stupid, Stupid Man. In the episode "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses" of the television series The Simpsons, a character mentions Sayer as being another singer he likes, after Elvis Presley.
Sayer married his wife Janice in 1973 and they remained married until their divorce in 1985. He then had a relationship with Italian-born Donatella Piccinetti, with whom he moved to live in Australia, but they split in 2007. 
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications
|1974||Just a Boy||4||-||-||35||-||16||
|1977||Thunder in My Heart||8||-||14||11||19||37||
|1979||The Very Best of Leo Sayer||1||-||14||1||5||-|
|1980||Living in a Fantasy||15||29||9||-||15||36||
|1983||Have You Ever Been in Love||15||-||-||-||-||-||
|1993||All the Best||26||-||-||-||-||-|
|1999||The Definitive Hits Collection||35||-||-||-||-||-|
|1999||Live in London||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2004||Endless Journey - The Essential Leo Sayer||52||-||-||-||-||-|
|2005||Voice In My Head||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|2006||Leo Sayer: At His Very Best||30||-||-||-||-||-|
|2008||Don't Wait Until Tomorrow *||-||-||-||-||-||-|
- * - Australia release only
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Certifications
|1973||"Why Is Everybody Going Home"||-||-||-|
|"The Show Must Go On"||2||-||-|
|1974||"One Man Band"||6||96||-|
|"Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance)"||4||9||-|
|1976||"You Make Me Feel Like Dancing"||2||1||1|
|1977||"When I Need You"||1||1||1|
|"How Much Love"||10||17||8|
|"Thunder in My Heart"||22||38||23|
|"Easy To Love"||-||36||-|
|"There Isn't Anything"||-||-||-|
|1978||"Dancing The Night Away"||-||-||-|
|"I Can't Stop Loving You (Though I Try)"||6||-||-||
|"Raining in My Heart"||21||47||-|
|1979||"When the Money Runs Out"||-||-||-|
|1980||"More Than I Can Say"||2||2||3|
|"Once in a While"||-||-||-|
|"Shake the Hand"||-||-||-|
|"Takin' the Brakes Off"||-||-||-|
|1981||"Living in a Fantasy"||-||23||14|
|1982||"Have You Ever Been in Love"||10||-||-|
|"Heart (Stop Beating in Time)"||22||-||-|
|"Till You Come Back to Me"||51||-||-|
|1984||"Sea Of Heartbreak"||-||-||-|
|1990||"Cool Touch" (Germany)||-||-||-|
|1992||"I Will Fight for You" (Germany)||-||-||-|
|1993||"When I Need You" (re-issue)||65||-||-|
|1998||"You Make Me Feel Like Dancing"
(Groove Generation featuring Leo Sayer)
|2006||"Thunder in My Heart Again"
(Meck featuring Leo Sayer) (Hit position #16 in Australia)
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- "Bedford Hotel, King's Road: Fire at the hotel". Mybrightonandhove.org. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
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- "Discografie Leo Sayer". DutchCharts.nl. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
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- "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved on 27 September 2011. Note: User needs to enter "Leo Sayer" in the "Search" field, "Artist" in the "Search by" field and click the "Go" button. Select "More info" next to the relevant entry to see full certification history.
- "Searchable Database". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 27 September 2011. Note: User must define 'Artist' search parameter as "Leo Sayer".
- "Certified Awards Search". Music Canada. Retrieved on 27 September 2011. Note: User needs to enter "Leo Sayer" in the "Search" field, "Artist" in the "Search by" field and click the "Go" button. Select "More info" next to the relevant entry to see full certification history.
- "Certified Awards Search". Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved on 11 October 2011.
- Lwin, Nanda. Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide (2000). ISBN 1-896594-13-1
- Lister, David, Pop ballads bite back in lyrical fashion, The Independent (London), 28 May 1994