I think I was watching The Midnight Special one evening when one of the musical acts was a guy named Leo Sayer, who sang his song “The Show Must Go On” dressed as Pierrot, with the white makeup and everything. “That’s weird,” I said, but kind of liked the song. The following April, Three Dog Night did the song and made it a hit. Leo would go on to have several more hits that decade, though “The Show Must Go On” wasn’t one of them, at least not in the US (it reached #2 in the UK).
Here’s Sayer’s version of “The Show Must Go On” from 1973. Note the line “I won’t let the show go on,” repeated several times in the song. In Three Dog Night’s version, they changed the line to “I must let the show go on,” a change Leo wasn’t particularly happy with. This rose to #2 on the UK charts in 1973.
By 1977, Leo had built a sufficient fan base in the US to top the Hot 100, with “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing,” which also won a Grammy for best R&B Song of the Year for him and co-writer Vini Poncia.
Things turned sour for Leo in the mid-Eighties. His divorce in 1985 showed that the money he earned was invested poorly by Adam Faith, his manager at the time, and later in the decade he sued his new management for mishandling his pension. He returned to performing in 1990 and toured himself back to financial security. He moved to Australia and became a citizen in 2009. Naturally, he has a website and a presence on Facebook and YouTube.
Leo Sayer, your Two for Tuesday, July 19, 2016.