One Man Band – Leo Sayer – 1974

Leo Sayer One Man BandFrom clown to disco Leo Sayer became amazingly popular for a man whose voice often sounded more like Mickey Mouse than a singing superstar.

 leo sayer – the bane of my life

There I am 17 or 18.  My brother and I have got fro’s.  Big ones.  We were the coolest kids in the neighbourhood – the only white kids who could grow them.  And then, along comes Leo Sayer and everyone keeps asking, “You know who you look like…?”

It wouldn’t have been so bad except, well, even I recognised that it was true!  I often wondered if anyone ever told him he looked like me.

leo sayer – the lyricist

Leo’s musical career began as a writer.  He wrote most the lyrics for Roger Daltry’s (The Who) first album including the hit song, Giving It All Away. 

Even today, in the music world, he’s renowned for being an accomplished writer of music and lyrics, and has written the soundtracks to a number of movies. 

leo the clown

leo sayer pierrotLeo’s singing career began in a clown costume.  To be totally precise it was a pierrot costume = a clown-like character from French pantomime.  He dressed this way on stage for a couple of years simply because he believed the look suited his songs.

leo the star

Leo’s voice meant that some people found it difficult to take him seriously.  The reality is, he had/has a phenomenal career.  His first seven singles reached the UK top 10.  Since 1973 he has had a hit in the top ten at least once every five years. 

Disco was good to Leo – his first number one was a song called, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.  He then returned to slower songs like, When I Need You and More Than I Can Say.

Love him or not – he’s a star!

Leo Sayer Todayand he’s still going!

On a recent trip to Melbourne, Australia I was amazed to see posters all over town for a Leo Sayer concert. Turns out he now lives in Australia – in fact, he’s become an Australian citizen.

one man band

I must confess, despite the fact that we once looked alike, I’m not sure I could stomach an entire Leo Sayer album.  I’m sure he’s a lovely fellow, but there is only so much high pitched warbling my ears can take.

But I do love his song – One Man Band.  It’s the story of Leo’s early musical life when he and his harmonica used to busk in London.  A quick read of the lyrics and you’ll see how they fit with the image of a sad clown trying to make it in the world.

One Man Band was Leo’s second UK and first US hit song.

a few leo fax

  • Leo was discovered by a musician named David Courtney who introduced him to Adam Faith, the musician turned manager.  There were thoughts back then that Leo the lyricist, Courtney the music writer, and Faith the manager/producer could produce a team to rival Elton John, Bernie Taupin and Gus Dudgeon.
  • In 2009 Leo became an Australian citizen.
  • Leo’s real first name is Gerry.  He was given the stage name Leo by his music writing partner who thought his head of curls made him look like a lion. 
  • Leo Sayer’s name is also used in Cockney rhyming slang, meaning “all-dayer”, as in an all-day drinking session.
  • Like many musicians, Leo made very little money from his early music.  Adam Faith, his manager, however, made a whole heap of cash!  The two men settled the matter “out of court” in 1992.
  • One Man Band lyrics.
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5 Responses to One Man Band – Leo Sayer – 1974

  1. Piggy says:

    I kept seeing that poster around town a lot and it kept giving me a fright because it looked so much like you!

  2. Greg.K. says:

    Oh no!! It’s still happening.
    BTW – I always thought Leo Sayer was VERY handsome!

  3. suzy says:

    how come MY makeup doesn’t stay like that?

  4. Miki says:

    In ’74 I well remember my ma-in-law at the time being really smitten by Leo – she thought he was ‘so cute’ – she would’ve been 50 at the time! In thne years following she often commented along the lines of “you never hear much of that lovely Leo, I wonder what happened to him?”!

  5. Greg.K. says:

    Well, now you know, Miki. He lives in Melbourne. He still plays live occasionally. And he still looks pretty much the same – just older. (like us all, I guess!)

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