"More Than I Can Say" was the third single from the Crickets' second release, In Style With the Crickets. The song was written by guitarist Sonny Curtis and drummer Jerry Allison around an hour in 1959. The hook was left unfinished at the time, and at the time of recording, the hook was left this way with no vocals, only the "wo-wo yay-yay," which became a memorable part of the song. The single went onto become a minor hit in the UK, entering the Top 40 and peaking at 26. Curtis considers this song to be one of his most prolific, looking back at the success subsequent artists have had performing it.
Sayer is a British singer-songwriter who enjoyed the majority of his chart success in the 1970s and early 1980s. He had two singles reach No. 1 in the U.S., "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" and "When I Need You", both in 1977. He nearly had a third song achieve this feat, as his cover version of "More Than I Can Say" spent five weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1980 and January 1981, kept from the top spot by "Lady" by Kenny Rogers and "(Just Like) Starting Over" by John Lennon. Sayer's version of the song was certified a Gold Record by the RIAA. It also spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboardadult contemporary chart. In the U.K., the song peaked at No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart, while it spent two weeks atop the Kent Music Report in Australia. Sayer has stated that while looking for an "oldie" to record for his album Living in a Fantasy, he saw a TV commercial for a greatest hits collection by Vee and chose the song on the spot: "We went into a record store that afternoon, bought the record and had the song recorded that night."