Two for Tuesday: Leo Sayer

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.

8 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Leo Sayer

  1. Leo Sayer has been one of my favorite artists ever since I was a little girl. Nothing like listening to these songs on a AM push-button radio with one speaker in the center of the dashboard while Mom ran into the grocery store for ‘a few things’.

    That wouldn’t happen THESE days….


    1. Are you kidding? The cops would go in the store and take your mother out in handcuffs, and you and whatever other kids were in the car would be on your way to a foster home before the song was over.

      I remember one time my aunt left me and a friend of mine in the car while she went to the bank. We got out and lifted the hood and were looking at the engine when she came back. Good times…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi John – I too liked this version of Leo’s song … his own – I didn’t know about his back ground though … glad he’s secure now .. cheers Hilary


    1. I think I got to like it better when I understood what he was going for. He’s a great singer, but the clown costume was a bit much for me.


  3. I haven’t thought of Leo Sayer in years! I didn’t know that he did The Show Must Go On before the Three Dog Night. I can see why you said “That’s weird” — the makeup and the dressup kinda freaks me out: clowns are creepy as all get out. I like his version of this song, maybe even more than Three Dog Night!
    You Make Me Feel Like Dancing brings back memories for sure. Good song.
    Sad that his fortune was invested poorly, but good to hear that he’s secure now.

    Good post today John.

    Michele at Angels Bark


    1. His is definitely better than Three Dog Night’s, and I like 3DN’s a lot.

      He’s hardly the only musician whose money was mishandled by their managers. You could say the same thing about athletes and child actors (remember the Coogan laws, and Macaulay Culkin?). I can understand them not wanting to handle their own money, but so few of them actually understand money and how not to invest it foolishly, and they end up trusting people they really shouldn’t.


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