Sayer began his career as a recording artist under the management guidance of 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 plaintive music hall-styled song "The Show Must Go On", which Sayer memorably performed on British television wearing a pierrot costume and make-up. The single went quickly to #2 on the UK chart, as did this debut album, for which Sayer wrote nine of the eleven tracks; the other two tracks were co-written with Courtney.
The recording of "Silverbird" was a difficult and somewhat experimental process, Adam Faith and David Courtney were having loads of ideas but had no real experience in record production. The writers were inspired however and the album started to come together with further recording taking place at the Who's lead singer Roger Daltrey's Barn Studio, Burwash, East Sussex, and later at the Beatles' Apple studios. Here the recording took further shape with the team creating, amongst others, the unique "The Show Must Go On".