Leo Sayer (b. May 21, 1948) is a veteran British-born singer and songwriter with a career spanning over four decades. At the height of his commercial fame during the 1970s, he performed mainly disco and soft rock and helped define that era with such smash hits as "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" and "When I Need You."
Born Gerard Hugh Sayer in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex in England, he began singing as a child in his church's choir and later with his school's band while in his teens. After graduating from a course in commercial art and graphic design at West Sussex College of Art and Design in Worthing, Sussex, he began performing with various local bands and eventually relocated to London in 1967. In 1970, he met British singer, songwriter, and producer David Courtney, and they began writing songs together. Along with many of Sayer's hits, they co-wrote such songs as "Giving It All Away" which became Roger Daltrey's first solo hit in 1973. Courtney also served as Sayer's co-producer and co-manager with former pop star and teen idol, Adam Faith. Sayer made his debut on the U.K. charts in 1972 with "The Show Must Go On" which reached #2 and went gold shortly thereafter. This Sayer/Courtney-penned song was later made famous in the U.S. by Three Dog Night. Sayer then went on to have six more hits through 1977 that also made the U.K. Top 10.
Sayer made his debut on the U.S. charts in 1974 with the Sayer/Courtney-penned "One Man Band" (not to be confused with the same-named 1970 hit by Three Dog Night). He had his first Top 10 hit the following year with "Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance)," also co-written by Sayer and Courtney. The peak of Sayer's chart success began in late 1976 when he scored two consecutive chart toppers, first with the disco-styled "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" followed in early 1977 by the romantic soft rock ballad, "When I Need You," which also topped the U.K. charts. Both songs are included on his critically acclaimed and platinum-certified 1976 album, "Endless Flight." Sayer's long string of hits throughout the remainder of the decade also included "How Much Love" (1977), "Thunder In My Heart" (1977), "Easy To Love" (1977), and "Raining In My Heart" (1978). He began the 1980s on a high note with his cover of a 1961 Bobby Vee hit, the Sonny Curtis/Jerry Allison-penned "More Than I Can Say," which topped the Adult Contemporary charts and made the Pop/Rock charts Top 5. Sayer's final U.S. chart entry came in 1981 with "Living In A Fantasy."
Leo Sayer has toured and recorded actively over the years, releasing over 20 albums. In addition, he has continued his long string of hits on the U.K. charts through 2006, making a return to the number one spot that year with "Thunder in My Heart Again." His many awards and accolades include a Grammy Award in 1977 for Best Rhythm & Blues Song for "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" and a Gold Badge Award in 2015 from the British Academy of Songwriters.
- For more information about Leo Sayer's life and career, visit leosayer.com.
- Leo Sayer discusses his early career, the making of his hit songs, and other topics in an interview with Frank Mastropolo at rockcellarmagazine.com (2016).
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