The Show Must Go On (Leo Sayer song)
|"The Show Must Go On"|
|Single by Leo Sayer|
|from the album Silverbird|
2:53 (7" version)
|"The Show Must Go On"|
|Single by Three Dog Night|
|from the album Hard Labor|
|B-side||"On the Way Back Home"|
|Released||16 March, 1974|
|Length||4:23 (album version)|
3:37 (single version)
|Three Dog Night singles chronology|
"The Show Must Go On" is a song co-written by Leo Sayer and David Courtney and first recorded by Sayer. It was released in the United Kingdom in 1973, becoming Sayer's first hit record (reaching its chart peak of #2 in early 1974 in the UK). The song reached #3 on the Irish Singles Chart in January 1974, and was included on Sayer's debut album Silverbird.
The song was covered by Three Dog Night, whose version was released in 1974, becoming a hit in the United States, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sung by vocalist Chuck Negron. The record reached #1 on the Cashbox pop chart, #2 on the Canadian RPM Magazine charts, and became their seventh and final Gold Record.
It uses a circus theme as a metaphor for dealing with the difficulties and wrong choices of life. Early in Sayer's career, he performed it dressed and made up as a pierrot clown. Like the album version on Sayer's debut album, Three Dog Night's version also quotes Julius Fučík's "Entrance of the Gladiators" which is commonly associated with circus clowns.
In Sayer's version, the last line of the chorus is "I won't let the show go on". Three Dog Night changed this line to "I must let the show go on", which Sayer has criticized.
- Leo Sayer - vocals
- Russ Ballard - banjo
- David Courtney – piano
- Robert Henrit - drums
- Dave Wintour - bass
Leo Sayer version
Three Dog Night version
Three Dog Night's cover of "The Show Must Go On" became their last Top 10 hit in the U.S., where it reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Cash Box Top 100, as well as in Canada, where it reached number two. It also reached #11 in the Netherlands and #12 in Germany.
Record World said that "3DN's treatment of this Leo Sayer English smash is a superb example of their interpretive power."
Several AM radio edits have shortened the instrumental introduction, due to time constraints and limitations.
Pasadena Roof Orchestra version
The Pasadena Roof Orchestra's 1977 album "The Show Must Go On" takes its name from the track, and (in an unusual departure into contemporary music) features their cover version of the song; it was re-released as part of their Jubilee Collection CDs in 2018.
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- Gogan, Larry (1987). The Larry Gogan Book of Irish Chart Hits (Maxwell Publications) ISBN 9781870846004
- Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications), ISBN 978-0823076321
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