Leo Sayer almost needs no introduction. He is held in great esteem as a live performer and recording artist by all age groups – from 6 to 60. This is as much due to his appearing famously with the Wiggles on DVD, CD and television as it is a by-product of his 40 year showbiz career. His concert history is legendary…
From the Olympic Stadium in Moscow, through Central Park, New York, the Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, the Las Vegas Hilton, Wembley Arena, Hammersmith Apollo and the Royal Albert Hall in London to the State Theatre in Sydney and the Hamer Hall in Melbourne, Leo Sayer has played the lot!
Add to this the fact that he writes almost all of his own material and you can see why Leo is the consummate musical act.
Gerard Hugh Sayer (to give him his original name) was born in 1948 at Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex, England. After studying graphic design at Art College, he worked in his late teens and 20’s as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator in London, playing blues harmonica by night in folk clubs.
He met co-writer David Courtney in 1971 and shortly afterwards, with a name change from Gerard to Leo, signed a management contract with ex 60’s pop star Adam Faith.
The trio’s first success came in 1973 when The Who’s lead singer Roger Daltrey based a debut solo album around Leo and David’s songs. 1972’s “Daltrey” led to Adam and David producing “Silverbird”, Leo’s first album release in 1973, which had the breakout hit: “The Show Must Go On” featuring Leo dressed in the costume and white make up of Pierrot. The album and single both hit the UK # 2 slot.
Leo’s star continued to rise in 1974 with a second album, “Just A Boy”, the Pierrot image now discarded. From this the singles “One Man Band” and “Long Tall Glasses” (a US # 7) became international chart hits. He toured the States and Australia for the first time that year, and the impact of that first tour of Australia has endured to the present day. Further success ensued with 1975’s “Another Year”, which spawned the classic hit single “Moonlighting”.
A major turning point in Leo’s career came in 1976 with his premier American album, “Endless Flight”. This gave him his first US # 1 with “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”, a crossover R&B dance hit which also won him a Grammy Award. Then Albert Hammond and Carole Bayer Sager’s “When I Need You” went on to do the same. The album was a worldwide success, with “How Much Love” also hitting the top of the charts.
In 1977 Leo followed this up with “Thunder In My Heart” (with a later single remix of the title track becoming another UK No.1 as recently as 2006), and then, in 1978 with “Leo Sayer”, which included further hits like “Dancing The Night Away”, “Raining In My Heart”, and “I Can’t Stop Loving You”.
Leo by now was living in the USA, where two more hit albums were created: “Here” in 1979 and “World Radio” in 1983. He was not only on the road in the USA, but jetted all over the world from his L.A. base to play concerts the UK, Australia and Europe, especially in the UK where he starred in his own TV series for the BBC.
While visiting England, Leo had recorded “Living In A Fantasy” in 1980, and a single from this album: “More Than I Can Say”, put him back on the top of the worldwide charts. Working with producer Alan Tarney at the time, he even found time to pen a top ten hit for Cliff Richard, with “Dreamin’” in 1981.
More hits followed: “Orchard Road” in 1983, along with “Have You Ever Been In Love”, featured as the title track of another hit album released that same year.
In the international music charts there have been more than twenty top ten singles and five top ten albums in Leo Sayer’s illustrious recording career. Add to this the hits written for Cliff, Three Dog Night, Tina Turner, Gene Pitney, Jennifer Warnes and Dolly Parton. It proves his prowess as an internationally acclaimed and talented songwriter.
Now a citizen of Australia, where he is based, Leo is busier and in demand more than ever. Last year was his 40th anniversary and to celebrate he completed a tour of 58 venues in all states during 2011.
There’s no sign of him slowing down either. At 63, his energy is palpable. He is planning a new studio album for next year, along with concert tours of Korea, the UK and New Zealand, and he has also created a new Christmas song: “Coming Home For Christmas”, which has just been released on the Myer ‘Spirit Of Christmas’ album this festive season.
Leo is a busy man who loves his life and work, and lives for pleasing audiences and music lovers around the globe, totally determined that whatever happens – “The Show Must Go On”.