Leo Sayer's Debut Album Was a Hit (Just Not in America)

Leo Sayer's 'Silverbird'
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Warner Records

In the winter of 1974, Leo Sayer released his debut album, which – although it didn’t really do much to help his profile in America – unquestionably served to kick off his U.K. career in a big way, sending him almost to the toppermost of the poppermost.

Sayer began his recording career in earnest as a part of the group Patches, but while the band’s single “Living in America” failed to chart, it helped begin the process of putting him on the map. The bigger help, ultimately, was Sayer’s work as a songwriter; “Giving It All Away,” a co-write with David Courtney, became Roger Daltrey’s first hit as a solo artist. Under the management of Adam Faith, Sayer was signed to Chrysalis Records in the U.K. and Warner Bros. in the U.S., releasing his debut album, Silverbird.

Although Sayer’s first solo single, “Why is Everybody Going Home,” failed to make even so much as a ripple on the charts, he had decidedly better luck upon the release of his second single, “The Show Must Go On.” Given that it was a music hall style number, it’s no real surprise that it was a bigger hit in England than it was in the States, but it’s remarkable just how big a hit it was.

“The Show Must Go On” climbed all the way to No. 2 on the U.K. singles chart, and its success spurred the same degree of success for Silverbird as well, which hit the same position on the country's albums chart, too. Yes, the LP did find at least a little bit of U.S. success, bubbling under the Billboard 200, but by the time Sayer released his second album, Just a Boy, at the end of the year, Americans were finally starting to understand what the Brits were on about, sending Sayer into the Top 20.

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