“I’m a one man band
Nobody cares nor understands
Is there anybody out there wanna lend a hand
To my one man band”
I always find it surprising how shallow I was in the seventies as a teenager, although I suppose it comes with the territory! In the beginning I thought Leo Sayer was a novelty act, he’d come on dressed as a Pierrot clown miming to his single and I just couldn’t take him seriously; whenever I heard the song I’d see the Pierrot image.
Now I’m older I’m not so shallow and I remember him singing as himself. Unfortunately now his songs bring to mind a slight body topped off with masses of curly hair – maybe I haven’t grown up after all!
With a background of playing in local bands and writing his own songs Gerry Sayer’s (he was christened Gerard) first attempt on the music scene was with the group Patches. Following a failed attempt at the Melody Maker “Battle of the Bands” contest, Patches entered a local talent contest in Brighton which they won. This proved to be pivitol in Leo’s career as it was at this point he met David Courtney; the combination of Leo’s lyrics and David’s melodies were to be the foundation of chart success.
This meeting also moved Leo Sayers career on at some pace, not only had he found a writing partner but David’s old boss Adam Faith became his Manager, he was rechristened Leo (as his hair was like a lion’s mane – apparently) and Patches released their first (and last) single. When the single failed to dent the charts Patches broke up leaving Leo and David to concentrate on writing and recording material for the first Leo Sayer album. At this point the quality of the duo’s songwriting was emphasised by Roger Daltrey who asked them to write some songs for his first solo album.
With the release of his first album, “Silverbird” and constant touring Leo Sayer needed an image with which to project himself and came up with the Pierrot clown. With this image he supported Roxy Music on tour and began to register with the audience. His second single “The Show Must Go On” hit number 2 in the charts during 1973 with the music press predicting a big future for the little clown.
Following a successful US tour Leo dropped the Pierrot outfit, it had only ever been an image for the first album, and began to perform as himself. His second album, released in 1974, gave him another two Top Ten hits (notably “One Man Band”) and Leo was a major success touring the UK, Europe and Australia. David now moved onto pastures new and Leo teamed up with another co-writer for his third album that included the hit “Moonlighting”.
In 1976 Leo Sayer moved out to the US to record a new album, this resulted in his first Number 1, “When I Need You”, and a Grammy award winning “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”.
While Leo continued to release singles the changing music scene in the UK decreased his impact on the charts. Despite this however he was still named the Best Male Artist of 1978 during the British Pop and Rock awards.
With only a few more chart entries during the 80’s it seemed that Leo Sayer had disappeared from the commercial music scene. That was until February 2006 saw him at Number 1 again with a dance remix of his 1977 single “Thunder In My Heart” – you can’t keep a good song down!
For more info visit Leo Sayer