The Ivor Novello Awards
The one who slipped through the net
by Ken Bloomfield
For 65 years the Ivors Academy (Ivor Novello Awards) has celebrated excellence in songwriting and composing. The Awards shine light on the creative talent of music creators, raising their profile and celebrating their craft. One of our national treasures though has been missed from this list of accomplished musicians and songwriters.
In 1973 Leo Sayer an exuberant bundle of fun, with curly hair and boundless energy, hit the music scene in the UK having been already working his musical apprenticeship a few years before.Not only was he a visually creative and innovative on stage but his writing talent was going to set him among the greatest artists of all time.
48 years ago his song “The Show Must Go On” went to number 2 in the British charts as did “Silverbird” the follow up album. He became well known on Television while behind the scenes he was prolifically writing for other recording artists.
His singles that followed, “One man Band” and “Long Tall Glasses” were major hits in the UK and “Long Tall Glasses” became his first hit in the US Top Ten.
During the period from 1973 to 1974 his Albums were consistently successful in the UK making the Top Ten in the UK Album Charts on 5 consecutive occasions.
In the United States he was becoming consolidated as an album artist with his second album “Just a Boy” and “Endless Flight” reaching Number 4 in the UK and Number 10 in the US Going ‘Platinum’ in both countries and ‘Double Platinum’ in Canada. This album also charted strongly in among others, Sweden, Norway,The Netherlands and New Zealand.
It was now 1977 and he followed on with two consecutive Number 1 hits in the US, “You make me feel like Dancing” for which he won the Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues song and then followed by “When I need You.”
His first compilation album, “The Very Best of Leo Sayer” became Leo’s First UK No.1 Album and his 7th consecutive UK Top 20 album.
In the US three of his singles, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” “When I Need You’ and “More Than I Can Say’ were certified Gold.
In 2008 he had another Number 1 in the UK singles chart with “Thunder in My Heart”
Then in 2015 he released his album “Restless Years” and toured across Australia and on to Singapore where he starred in Singapore’s Leo Sayer in Concert – 40 Years at the Top presented by The British Theatre Playhouse.
In October 2015 Leo was awarded a Gold Badge of Merit by the British Academy of Songwriters, composers and authors. Most recently he issued his latest album “Selfie” so still going strong after 50 years in the business.
I can’t think of anyone more deserving of an Ivor Novello lifetime Achievement Award.