Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dale Hawkins (1936 – 2010)

Delmar Allen Hawkins was born in 1936 in Louisiana, on his grandfather’s cotton farm in Gold Mine, where he grew up. His father and other family members were musicians who toured Arkansas and Oklahoma in the 1930s and ’40s. His cousin Ronnie Hawkins was also a rockabilly recording artist. According to Kauppila (2013), young Hawkins grew up absorbing a wide range of musical influences, including country and rhythm and blues (R&B) shows that he heard on Shreveport radio station KWKH (home of the Louisiana Hayride), blues from black sharecroppers with whom he picked cotton on his grandfather’s farm, and black gospel singers in local churches. He bought his first guitar at age thirteen with money he had saved from his paper round. The rhythm guitarist was influenced by the contemporary rock and roll style of Elvis Presley and in particular the guitar sounds of Scotty Moore, but also blended that with the uniquely heavy blues sound of black Louisiana artists to create swamp rock.

He left home at fifteen and lied about his age in order to join the US Navy. He served on a destroyer during the Korean War. Upon his military discharge, he moved to Bossier City and attended a business college in in the neighboring city of Shreveport, under the GI Bill, in 1956. He formed a band played on the Bossier Strip, a nightlife area that catered to off-duty military personnel from nearby Barksdale Air Force Base. The band recorded “See You Soon, Baboon” (intended as an “answer” record to Bobby Charles’s “See You Later, Alligator”), at KWKH studios during off-air hours. Dale and James Burton were college buddies, and in 1957 they recorded "Susie Q" with Burton on the signature riff and solo. Stan’s Record Shop was the regional distributor for Chicago label Chess Records, so owner Stan Lewis sent the song to Chess. The record was released in April 1957 on the Checker subsidiary as one of the first singles Chess released by a white artist. "Suzy Q," with its crackling bluesy guitar and insistent cowbell, was one of the first rock ’n’ roll records to feature lead guitar instead of saxophone and eventually reached No. 27 on the Billboard pop charts and No. 7 on the R&B charts.

Dale Hawkins and James Burton came up with “Susie Q” as they improvised around Burton’s guitar flourish, and later wrote the song kind of worked itself out. The song’s title is most likely to have come from a popular dance craze of the mid-1930s, but other influences have been suggested. The song’s melody came from a 1954 song by the Clovers, “I’ve Got My Eyes on You.”

The song was recorded at the KWKH Radio station in Shreveport, Louisiana. When it was released, Stan Lewis, the owner of Jewel/Paula Records, and Eleanor Broadwater, the wife of Nashville DJ Gene Nobles, were also credited as co-writers to give them shares of the royalties. This was common a practice and guaranteed the song was promoted although more often than not the artists were short changed. Many artists would cover the song including The Rolling Stones (1964); and Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968) among many others.

In 1958 he recorded Willie Dixon's "My Babe" which featured a Roy Buchanan’s solo on Telecaster. The single reached No. 7 on the R&B chart. Though he had a few more minor hits in 1958 and 1959, he was unable to duplicate the success of “Susie Q.” In addition to Burton and Buchanan, many notable musicians passed through Hawkins’s bands, including guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer D. J. Fontana (both of whom played with Elvis Presley), and future country stars Floyd Cramer and Conway Twitty. In 1960, he hosted his own teen dance party television program, The Dale Hawkins Show, on WCAU-TV in Philadelphia.

He was never able to repeat his earlier successes as a singer but continued recording after leaving Chess, with Tilt and Zonk labels, and two for Atlantic, but none were hits. In 1962 he moved back to Shreveport and became a producer for the Jewel and Paula labels run by his former boss, Stan Lewis. Later he served as president of ABNAK Records in Dallas, Texas, where he had hits with, The Uniques, "Not Too Long Ago" (1965) , the Five Americans, “Western Union” (1967), Jon & Robin's "Do It Again – A Little Bit Slower" (1967).

At Bell Records where he produced Bruce Channel (1968), Ronnie Self, James Bell, the Festivals, the Dolls, and the Gentrys); and A&R director, RCA West Coast Rock Division, working with Michael Nesmith and Harry Nilsson.

Dale Hawkins became disillusioned with the music business and relocated to the South, where he worked briefly in the insurance and automobile industries. In 1969, he returned to singing with the album “L.A., Memphis & Tyler, Texas” which featured a young Ry Cooder on guitar. Though the album did not sell well at the time, it is now regarded as a “lost” classic.

Sadly, the 70s found Hawkins plagued with drug problems, and he eventually he relocated to Arkansas, where he went through a rehabilitation program. In 1986, after MCA Records bought the Chess catalog, he received a check for $64,000 and built his own studio. In the 1980s, after recovering from an addiction to prescription drugs, he opened a crisis center for teenagers in Little Rock. In the 1996, he produced Kenny Brown’s "Goin Back to Mississippi" album. Two years later, Ace Records issued a compilation album, Dale Hawkins, Rock 'n' Roll Tornado, which contained a collection of his early works and previously unreleased material.

During 2000s Dale Hawkins enjoyed a career resurgence, playing festivals and then in 2007 he released Back Down to Louisiana on Plumtone Records. Dale Hawkins died in 2010, from colon cancer in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was 73.

Kauppila, Paul "Dale Hawkins." In Encyclopedia of Louisiana, edited by David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 2010–. Article published April 2, 2013.

Kauppila, Paul "Dale Hawkins" Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Ed. David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 2 Apr 2013. Web. 23 Jun 2016.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sir Rod Stewart

Roderick David Stewart was born in Highgate, North London in 1945, the youngest of five children of Robert Stewart and Elsie Gilbart. His father, a master builder was from Edinburgh and moved the family to London. The youngest of the family, Roderick had a happy childhood if unremarkable scholastic career at Hornsey’s William Grimshaw Secondary Modern School. His two loves were football and music and Roderick played centre half for Middlesex Schoolboys. The family loved Al Jolson and young Roderick watched his movies and played his records. As a young teenager he went to see Bill Haley and his Comets, listened to Little Richard before he bought his first record, Eddie Cochran's "C'mon Everybody".

Roderick got his first guitar in 1959 and quickly learned to play "It Takes a Worried Man to Sing a Worried Song" within a year he was in a school skiffle group called the Kool Kats. He left school aged 15 started working as an apprentice silk screen printer, but harboured the idea he would become a professional footballer. Supported his father he had a trial for Brentford F.C. but failed to make the grade. Plan B swung into action and Roderick decided to become a professional musician. Working in a series of menial jobs including delivering papers from his father’s paper shop, casual labourer for Highgate Cemetery, aid at a funeral parlour, fence erector and sign writer, he joined several different bands including The Raiders. When the group went for an audition with Joe Meek, the famous produced took an instant dislike to Roderick and stooped the session before asking him to leave. Stewart became attracted to bohemian attitudes and left-wing politics and for a short time lived as a beatnik on a houseboat at Shoreham-by-Sea. He started to listen to folk music and became influence by American folkies like Woody Guthrie, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Derroll Adams and the young Bob Dylan.

Keen to blend in with the music Roderick learned to play harmonica (harp) and started busking with Wizz Jones. Together they travelled to Brighton, Paris, and finally to Barcelona. Sleeping rough wherever they Roderick was deported from Spain for vagrancy in 1963. Back in London, Roderick moved back home and worked for his brother in his painting and picture frame shop. His musical tastes changed after seeing Otis Redding perform in concert and listening to Sam Cooke Rod (the Mod) became fascinated by rhythm and blues and American soul music.

He joined the Dimensions as a harmonica player and part-time vocalist. Jimmy Powell hired the group as his backing band and Rod Stewart was relegated to harmonica player. The group became residents at the Studio 51 club on Great Newport Street in London but Rod and Jimmy Powell were soon at loggerheads. Rod left the band to join Long John Baldry and the All Stars in 1964 after Baldry heard him playing "Smokestack Lightnin'" on his harmonica. Long John Baldry and the All Stars became the Hoochie Coochie Men and Rod became a singer. His stage presence with spiked hair and mod attire got him a loyal following and soon he was billed with the band as "Rod the Mod" Stewart. The Hoochie Coochie Men became the resident band at the Marquee Club and released a version of Willie Dixon’s “You'll Be Mine” with Rod’s vocals featured in duet with Baldy on the B-side with "Up Above My Head." While still with the group and somewhat unusually Rod Stewart embarked on a simultaneous solo career and signed with Decca in 1964. He released "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl," but it failed to enter the charts. Not long after Rod left the band after a fall out with Long John Baldy.

In 1965, Giorgio Gomelsky impresario and manager put together Steampacket as a white soul review live act. Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart had patched up their differences and at Baldry’s insistence Rod was included in the line-up , which was completed with , Brian Auger (organ) , Julie Driscoll (vocals) , Micky Waller (drums), Vic Briggs (guitar) and on bass Ricky Fenson (Richard Brown), Due to contractual difficulties, they did not release any recordings during their lifetime but some demos and bootlegs do exists. Steampacket played at various clubs, theatres and student unions around the country, including supporting the Rolling Stones on their 1965 British tour. Rod Stewart left in 1966, and the group disbanded soon after.

In 1965, Rod Stewart was featured in a 30-minute television documentary called "An Easter with Rod" (London Rediffusion). He also released "The Day Will Come" (1965) but it failed to chart. In 1966, Rod Stewart joined Shotgun Express as co-lead vocalist with Beryl Marsden. The line-up included Mick Fleetwood (drums) and Peter Green (guitar), Dave Ambrose (bass) and Peter Bardens (keyboards) . The band released one single "I Could Feel The Whole World Turn Round", and Rod had another attempt at solo success with "Shake", with the Brian Auger Trinity Both failed commercially. Rod Stewart then left to join the Jeff Beck Group at the start of 1967.

After Jeff Beck left the Yardbirds, he recruited Rod Stewart as vocalist and songwriter for his new band the Jeff Beck Group . The line-up included Ronnie Wood (rhythm guitar), Jet Harris (bass) and Dave Ambrose (bass), with Clem Cattini and Viv Prince trying out on drums. The band went through months of personnel changes, notably no fewer than four drummers before settling on Aynsley Dunbar and switching Ron Wood to bass. Beck signed a personal management contract with record producer and manager Mickie Most who had no interest in the group. During 1967 the band released three singles with only "Hi Ho Silver Lining" reaching the UK top twenty single charts. Frustrated that the band was not playing strict blues, drummer Dunbar left and was replaced by Roy Cook for one show, before Stewart recommended an old bandmate of his from Steampacket, Micky Waller went on to be their longest-lasting drummer. For the first year the grouped toured the UK and then went on to tour Western Europe in 1968. Almost broke the group recorded the album Truth before setting out on a make or break tour of the US which proved to be their breakthrough. Truth, which included three songs written by Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart (credited as reached Jeffrey Rod)went to No. 15 in the US charts and its success ignited new interest from Mickie Most. Beck-Ola was recorded at De Lane Lea Studios and engineered by Martin Birch and reached No. 15 on The Billboard Charts.

Meantime Rod’s solo career continued with another flop entitled, "Little Miss Understood" on Immediate Records. Rod Stewart recorded his first album An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down for Mercury Records and this met with critical acclaim. However, rising tension within the band and on their fifth US tour in July 1969 and appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival. Jeff Beck broke up the band on the eve of the Woodstock Music Festival, at which they had been scheduled to perform, a decision Beck later stated that he regretted.

In 1969, guitarist and lead singer Steve Marriott left The Small Faces. Ron Wood replaced him as guitarist and Rod Stewart joined them as their new singer. The band line-up was complete with original Small Faces, Ronnie Lane (guitar), Ian McLagan (keyboard), and Kenney Jones (drums). Their d├ębut album First Step came out in 1970 and was a modest success in the UK. The Faces became a popular live act and soon had a strong festival following. Their second album, Long Player, was released in early 1971 and enjoyed greater chart success. Towards the end of the year, their third album A Nod Is as Good as a Wink...To a Blind Horse contained a hit single with "Stay With Me," and the album reached the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic.

Lou Reizner (A&R man Mercury records) signed Rod to a solo contract in 1968 but contractual complexities delayed Stewart's recording for him until 1969. He sang guest vocals for the Australian group Python Lee Jackson on "In a Broken Dream", recorded in 1969 but not released until 1970. When it was re-released in 1972 to become a worldwide hit. Rod’s second solo album Gasoline Alley was also released in 1970 and came out to critical acclaim. His third album, Every Picture Tells A Story, featured the hit single "Maggie May" in 1971 and together album and single hit number one in both the US and the UK simultaneously and made Rod Stewart a household name. He then launched a US tour with the Faces.

As the tour progressed growing tensions within the band followed over Stewart's solo career enjoying more success than Faces’. Rod Stewart released Never a Dull Moment in 1972 and it reached number two on the US album charts and number one in the UK. "You Wear It Well" was a runaway hit single. The Faces released their final album Ooh La La, which reached number one in the UK and number 21 in the US in 1973. By the time of the recording Stewart was in daily dispute with the rest of the band but did tour Australasia, Japan, Europe and the UK in 1974 to support the album and the single "Pool Hall Richard". The following year the Faces toured the US twice before Stewart announced the Faces' break-up at the end of the year.

Rod’s Smiler album (Mercury) was released in 1974 and topped the UK album charts. The singles "Farewell" and "Mine for Me" had mixed fortune in the US. He switched labels to Warner Bros and moved to Los Angeles in 1975. Tom Dowd produced the next album Atlantic Crossing with a different sound based on the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Atlantic Crossing with its fast and slow sides was a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic and the single "Sailing", was a UK number-one, and remains his biggest-selling single in the UK. His version of "This Old Heart of Mine" was also a Top 100 hit in 1976.

The next album, A Night on the Town album was Rod’s seventh and went to number two on the Billboard album charts as well as going platinum. "Tonight's the Night" was a chart topper internationally; and "The First Cut Is the Deepest", a cover of a Cat Stevens song, went number one in the UK in 1977, and top 30 in the US. "The Killing of Georgie (Part 1 and 2)", about the murder of a gay man, was also a Top 40 hit for Stewart during 1977

Foot Loose & Fancy Free (1977) was the eighth album and featured Rod’s own band: Carmine Appice, Phil Chen, Jim Cregan, Billy Peek, Gary Grainger and John Jarvis. It contained another hit with "You're in my Heart” which reached the US top five. Both "Hot Legs" and “I Was Only Joking" also got a lot of radio airplay ". In 1978, Blondes Have More Fun, gave him another successful album with the smash hit single "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?" Now more disco orientated Stewart's look evolved to include a glam element, including make-up and spandex clothes. After a court case it was shown the song's refrain was identical to Brazilian Jorge Ben Jor's earlier "Taj Mahal" and a lawsuit ensued. Stewart donated his royalties to UNICEF, and he performed it with his band at the Music for UNICEF Concert at the United Nations General Assembly in 1979.

By comparison the 80s were quiet for Rod Stewart with only a few hits. He did however, transcend musical changes and moved smoothly in to the hi-tech disco genre starting with "Passion," from Foolish Behaviour; and Tonight I'm Yours album (1981) had two hit singles, the title track "Tonight I'm Yours (Don't Hurt Me)" and "Young Turks." In 1983, "Baby Jane" (1983) was the lead single from his Body Wishes album and became number one in the UK and reached No. 14 in the US. Rod Stewart had four US Top 10 singles between 1984 and 1988, "Some Guys Have All the Luck" (1984), "Infatuation" (1984) and "Love Touch" (1986). In the UK, "Every Beat of My Heart" reached number two in 1986. In 1988, Out of Order, produced four top 15 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. These were "Lost in You", "Forever Young", "Crazy About Her", and "My Heart Can't Tell You No." He ended the decade on a positive note, when a remake of the Tom Waits song "Downtown Train" received a lot of radio play in 1989.

Whilst still instantly recognisable, Rod’s voice was changing and the 90s saw less aggressive singing. Vagabond Heart (1991) featured five singles, with the two most successful "Rhythm of My Heart “ and "The Motown Song" . "It Takes Two" with Tina Turner, was released in 1990 in advance of the full album's release, and reached number five on the UK charts, but did not chart in the US. A few years later, he released Unplugged and Seated (1993), which was recorded at MTV Unplugged concert and featured the hit "Have I Told You Lately." In 1995, Stewart released A Spanner in the Works containing a single written by Tom Petty, "Leave Virginia Alone", which charted but the latter half of the 1990s was not as commercially successful though the 1996 album If We Fall in Love Tonight managed to go gold and hit No. 19 on the Billboard album chart. When We Were the New Boys, his final album on the Warner Bros. label was released in 1998, it reached number two on the UK album charts.

It had been previously reported Rod was suffering from a benign vocal cord nodule, then in 2000 it was diagnosed he had thyroid cancer. Resulting surgery threatened his voice, and he had to re-learn how to sing. Meantime he left Warner Bros. and moved to Atlantic Records and in 2001 released Human with the single "I Can't Deny It. "

As a complete change in 2002, Rod embarked on a series four albums featuring great 1930s and 1940s pop standards written by great American song writers entitled The Great American Songbook. These were an outstanding success and spurned many chart entries. In late 2006, Rod Stewart made his return to rock music with the release of Still the Same... Great Rock Classics of Our Time, a featuring rock and southern rock milestones from the last four decades. The album reached the top of the pop charts. To complete his homage to classic pop Rod released the studio album Soulbook (2009) which was composed of covers of soul and Motown songs.

Rod Stewart signed on to a two-year residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas and released a Christmas album in 2012. In the next year he returned to rock and song-writing with Time, his twenty-eighth studio album, which he co-produced. The album entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 1, setting a new British record for the longest gap between chart-topping albums by an artist. The gravel voiced rocker come crooner continues to appear live and touring arenas and concert halls worldwide.

Rod has been a life-long Scottish fan and supports Celtic Football Club.

Further Reading
Stewart R (2012) Rod: The Autobiography Three Rivers Press

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Leo Sayer

Gerard Hugh Sayer was born in 1948 in in Shoreham-by-Sea, Sussex. He middle child of three (an older sister Kathleen and a younger brother Brian) he attended the Blessed Robert Southwell in Goring-by-Sea. As a young boy he was a boy chorister and benefited from singing instruction from Father Dermot MacHale, the Parish Priest. To this day Leo attributes “the finding of his voice” to Father MacHale. Like all teenagers with an ear for music Gerry he fell in love with the songs of Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley songs and sang with the school band. He left school to attend the West Sussex College of Art and Design in Worthing, for a a course for commercial art and graphic design. There he perfected the mouth organ after discovering Rhythm and Blues, and was soon jamming with local bands. Restless he left college without completing his course but got work straightaway in a nearby Brighton design studio. He became a freelance artist and moved up to London in late 1967.

Things got a bit too much for the young artist in London and he came back to Shoreham to chill out on a houseboat for on the river Adur. To make ends meet he took casual work but joined a local band called Patches as singer and harp player. Now writing songs as well as singing Gerry decided he wanted to become a professional musician. After winning an audition for a local talent agent David Courtney, the two started writing and recording together. Once they had built up a portfolio of work David turned to his old friend and former employer, Adam Faith.

Patches made their first single at London’s Olympic Studios. Called “Living In America” and whist it failed to attract commercial success it did have uncredited support from the Who. By chance the Who were in the studio during the recording and were keen to meet Adam Faith. Gerry full head of curls caught much attention at the time and David Courtney christen him Leo, after the lion.

So Gerry became Leo Sayer and Adam Faith became Leo’s manager. He was singed to the Chrysalis label (UK) and Warner Bros. Records in the USA. Patches disbanded, with only Max Chetwynd, guitarist, staying on and David and Adam prepared to produce Leo’s first album at Manor Studios in Oxford.The album “Silverbird” was an experimental process, as neither Adam and David had no real experience in record production. Roger Daltrey took an interest in the process and further recording took place at his home studio in Sussex before completion at the Beatles’ Apple studios. By chance Roger Daltrey was recording his first solo album and looking for material. He enjoyed the Courtney/Sayer compositions and asked them to write some for the album. Happy to oblige they gave him some of the material they had intended to use for the second Leo Sayer album. Produced by Faith and Courtney, “Daltrey” the album was released on Track Records in 1973 before the Leo Sayer debut album “Silverburd”. The first single, “Giving It All Away” became a hit for Roger Daltrey in Britain and the U.S.A. and soon everybody in the business wanted to know about the writers.

The cover of the Daltrey album was photographed by Graham Hughes, who was a well-respected photographer. When Leo met him he was taken with some of his fashion photos which included models with a Belgian mime artist dressed as Pierrot the clown. Keen to adopt a striking stage presence Leo convinced his management he should adopt the clown persona. Graham shot the cover with Leo portrayed as himself on the front, and dressed as the Pierrot on the back. Faith wanted to maximise the clown image and create an impact with Leo Sayer’s public debut. The first major concert was in Brighton and the head of Warner Brothers records in America, Joe Smith, was invited to attend. The singer’s stunning performance combined with his visual impact as Pierrot the clown was enough for Smith to sign him to a ten-album deal in the United States, Canada and South America. Chrysalis Records in the U.K. signed Leo for the rest of the world. “Silverbird”, was released in the UK and US simultaneously. The first single "Why Is Everybody Going Home" failed to chart but the follow up, “The Show Must Go On”, went to number 2 in the U.K. singles charts and the “Silverbird” album also reached number 2 in the album charts.

Leo went on European tour, appearing on stage dressed as the Pierrot, supporting Roxy Music. His wife Janice made the costumes and applied his make up, . The B.B.C. invited him to appear in The Old Grey Whistle Test (OGWT) and a US tour beckoned. Leo wowed the American audiences when he played week long performances at The Troubadour in Los Angeles, and at The Bottom Line in New York (with support act Hall and Oates). The U.S. tour was deemed a great success and the singer vowed that he would drop the Pierrot costume and make- up . On his return to England in 1974 he played his biggest gig at London’s Crystal Palace Bowl supporting Rick Wakeman then back in the recording studio for his second album “Just A Boy”. The two singles, “One Man Band” and “Long Tall Glasses” both hit the charts in the U.K. and around the world.

By the time of the third album, (Another Year) Leo had a new co-writer, Frank Farrell (Supertramp). The single “Moonlighting” was a hit and the album reached the Top Ten UK albums chart. He spent 1975 on the road, promoting the album and playing Britain, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, the Far East, and Europe. Towards the end of the year he released a Christmas single which was a cover of the Beatles “Let It Be”. The single failed to attract much attention but did later appear on Lou Riesner’s concept album “All This And World War Two” which was released the following year.

Adam Faith was keen to have Leo work with an American producer for the next album. Richard Perry and the singer worked on a number of cover version os classic Tamla Motown numbers i.e. “What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted”, “Tears Of A Clown” and “Reflections.” Leo was not sure about the direction, but loved working with the session musicians. Gradually absorbing contemporary Americana, he collaborated with Barry Mann (“You Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, and “On Broadway”) and they came up with “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.” Leo completed the song with co-writer Vini Poncia, and when released became Leo’s first American number one. The album ‘Endless Flight’ was critically well received everywhere. Two further singles from the album became massive hits internationally, “When I need you” and “How much love”

Now at the pinnacle of success after another tour of the US, Leo appeared on T.V. for the B.B.C. with his own prime time special. Back in the studio with Richard Perry, the new album “Thunder in my heart” contained more original material. Unfortunately, sales did not match expectation but the singles “Thunder In My Heart” and “Easy To Love” singles did well.

Now being groomed to join Elvis and Tom Jones in the lucrative Las Vegas and cabaret circuit Leo was forever on the road. The last album produced by Richard Perry was “Leo Sayer” (1978) and had the cream of session musicians with a more introspective Leo Sayer. “Stormy Weather” was the best track (sic. IMO) but “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and "Raining in my heart" were stand out singles from the album. Between touring the world Leo again fronted his own weekly show on B.B.C. T.V. every Friday night.

The next album, “Here” (1979), saw Leo reunited with Dave Courtney. Despite a literal who’s who of session musicians the album failed to attract as much attention as the previous three had in the US. The Very Best of Leo Sayer was a compilation album which became number one in the UK albums chart, and by the time Living in a Fantasy (1980) was released with the single “More than I can say”, Leo was back on top across the world. However, cracks started to appear with a heavy touring schedule and mounting problems due to a series of financial and legal problems.

Back in Los Angeles with Arif Mardin the new album, “Have you ever been in love “included the hit singles: “Have You Ever Been In Love” (1982) and “Orchard Road” (1983). The latter would be the last single to make the top twenty. Back in the UK, Leo hosted two more self-titled T.V. series for the B.B.C. during 1983 and 1984 and had his own radio show on Radio 1. .

By the mid-80s, Leo was now divorced and it was revealed Adam Faith had been badly mishandling his business affairs over many years. Protracted legal action followed and the case was eventually settled out of court in 1992. Leo Sayer had lost millions. Now 40 years old, Leo was touring the UK again. In the early 1990s his career stalled again while he fought a protracted but ultimately successful legal battle against his former label, Chrysalis, to regain the publishing rights to his songs. He continued to work by touring the Far East, Australasia and New Zealand. In 1996 Sayer was forced to sue his new management after he discovered that his pension fund had allegedly been mismanaged to around £1 million. Leo Sayer continued with his live performances and worked his way back to financial security.

In January 2009, Leo Sayer became an Australian citizen where he continues to record and perform.