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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

You've got a cute way of talking? 

For some reason the name "Leo Sayer" popped into my head. How was I to know that Sayer was on top of the charts again - sort of?

Seventies pop star Leo Sayer has swept to the top of the UK singles chart - 29 years after his last number one.

A dance remix of his 1977 song Thunder In My Heart has gone straight to the top of the chart. Sayer has described his comeback as "a lovely miracle".

The song, which only reached number 22 when it was originally released, has been reworked by a DJ called Meck....

Sayer, 57, had 10 UK Top 10 singles between 1973 and 1982.

His last appearance in the charts came when another dance remix of one of his biggest hits, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, reached number 32 in 1998.

For those who haven't heard of Leo Sayer, here are a few excerpts from his online biography:

Roger Daltrey had a cousin, Graham Hughes, who was a well-respected photographer. Leo met with him just after he'd shot Roger’s album cover and was intrigued by some fashion photos Graham had taken. What had inspired Leo was the presence amongst the models in the shoot of Belgian mime artist Julien in the guise of Pierrot the clown....

“The Show Must Go On”, released as the second single, went to number 2 in the U.K. charts and the “Silverbird” album also reached number 2 in the album chart. The B.B.C. put Leo in concert on T.V. and as the year of 1973 drew to a close both the Melody Maker and The Sun newspaper (on the cover of it’s new year issue) predicted Leo as “The Star Of ‘74”.

In the U.S.A, Three Dog Night covered “The Show Must Go On” and took their version right to the top of the singles chart there. They had seen Leo on British television dressed as Pierrot and dressed up as circus clowns on U.S. T.V., in their interpretation of Leo. They had ironically changed Leo’s lyric to: “We must let the show go on....” This proved Leo’s songs could travel, as Leo was now starting to get lots of attention around the world, and Leo prepared to tour the U.S. for the first time....

Leo had always vowed that he would drop the Pierrot costume and make- up as soon as he became successful. This he did on his return to England in June 1974, and a nervous but relieved Leo found that an audience could readily accept him without the image. Leo played his biggest gig yet that summer at London’s Crystal Palace Bowl supporting Rick Wakeman.

Adam, David and Leo had already started work on Leo’s second album “Just A Boy”, cutting “One Man Band” while Leo was on the American tour. More recording took place in London. This time the recording went smoothly and the right results were quickly accomplished. Some of the songs, like “Long Tall Glasses” were written in the studio. “Long Tall Glasses” was all about Leo’s reaction to America and became his first top ten record there....

Leo performed in February 1975 at the Midem music business festival in Cannes and upset the organisers of the international music industry gala by getting a raucous standing ovation that made the next act unable to go on, a symphony orchestra conducted by the film director Frederic Fellini’s composer Nina Rota....

In the spring of 1976, Leo met Richard Perry in Los Angeles - Adam’s suggestion for the American producer. Richard had a distinguished reputation in the U.S, having produced such acts as Barbra Streisand, Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr, Art Garfunkel and Diana Ross amongst others. He’d seen Leo in concert and was impressed....

Leo started writing exciting new songs in this environment, and he and wife Janice embraced L.A.’s melting pot atmosphere with undisguised relish. They rented a house in Laurel Canyon and gradually “went Californian”. During this period, Leo wrote two songs for the album with New Yorker Barry Mann (famous for composing “You Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, and “On Broadway”) and most importantly created “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”, which came from a jam session in the studio, with drums by the legendary Steve Gadd and guitars by the great Larry Carlton and Ray Parker Jr (of later “Ghostbusters” fame). He completed the song with co-writer Vini Poncia, who had produced Kiss and Ringo Starr, and when the result was released in September ‘76 - it became Leo’s first American number one....

The second single, “When I Need You” (a ballad by Albert Hammond and Carole Bayer-Sager), brought even more success.

For years in Britain, Leo had been “knocking on the door” of the number one position in the U.K. music charts. He’d been kept at number two by the likes of Abba, Gary Glitter, Alvin Stardust and Slade. In January 1977 he got his new year present. Number one in the U.K. was followed by his second number one in the U.S. Number ones in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and many other countries....

The singles from the album had now sold roughly six million copies around the world. Richard Perry was eager to put out a follow up album as quickly as possible to continue this momentum. Late summer and early autumn 1977 was spent recording “Thunder In my Heart” at Studio 55.

From his base in L.A., Leo had already started co-writing with Tom Snow (the album’s title track), Albert Hammond (who’d written “When I Need You”), and with Michael Omartian (pianist on “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and the producer of singer Christopher Cross)....

1980 bought a welcome return to the charts with a hit single, “More Than I Can Say”, a classic song written by Jerry Alison and Sonny Curtis from Buddy Holly’s backing group The Crickets, and originally recorded by Bobby Vee. It went to No.2 in the US and British charts....

Between 1991 and 1996 his career progressed steadily...[with] tours of the Far East and Australasia, some recording, some writing and co - writing, but no real big breakthrough. Then in 1997, Leo received an offer for a season of shows at The Cafe Royal, in the heart of London’s West End. There was a press call, and members of the tabloid press turned up to the opening night.

A couple of journalists from the Sun newspaper ended up backstage after the show, raving about what they’d seen, and their next day’s edition featured the start of a campaign to “Bring back Leo Sayer”.

Also at this time a group calling themselves The Groove Generation hit the UK charts with a 90’s style re-working of Leo’s classic “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” - featuring Leo himself. This opened up an entirely new market to Leo and he started appearing in discos and at University dances and balls throughout the U.K. to a younger crowd, who now thought he was the epitome of chic. The seventies revival had started, with Leo being one of the great pace setters....

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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