The Show Must Go On (Leo Sayer song)

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"The Show Must Go On"
Single by Leo Sayer
from the album Silverbird
Released 1973 (1973)
Genre Rock
Length 3:30
Label Chrysalis
Sayer performing the song on Dutch television (AVRO's TopPop) in 1974
"The Show Must Go On"
Single by Three Dog Night
from the album Hard Labor
B-side "On The Way Back Home"
Released 1974 (1974)
Genre Rock
Length 3:37 (7" version)
Label Dunhill
Producer(s) Jimmy Ienner

"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 Top Twenty in January 1974,[1] 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. The opening motif 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 sang it as "I must let the show go on", which Sayer was reportedly not happy about.

Chart performance[edit]

Leo Sayer version[edit]

Weekly singles chart (1974) Peak
UK [2] 2
Year-end chart (1974) Position
UK [3] 31

Three Dog Night version[edit]


  • 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)

External links[edit]