IN the midst of his Just A Boy At 70 tour, pop icon, Leo Sayer, arrives at Sage Gateshead on Saturday in celebration, in part of his 70th year, but also the recent release of his latest album, Selfie.

With an extensive career dating back to the mid-sixties, when with Adam Faith and David Courtney, on the English South Coast, Leo didn’t aim for a career in music more graphic design, it was his meeting Faith and Courtney that persuaded him otherwise.

It wasn’t until the mid-1970s though until Leo’s name became a household one and he has ridden a continuing crest ever since, even though he was seen as a constant number two in the charts before finally making that final step.

“Things happened very quickly after Silverbird was released and I became a star when I performed as the Pierrot which seemed to capture the world’s attention in 1974,” says Leo.

“I started getting used to being number two in the charts, it happened about five times.

“I don’t mind though, the songs and albums sold well and I was building a following.

“It’s not always about being number one and for me the collective of songs and a good show is what I used to concentrate on.

“I was happy with the results, but then the album with Richard Perry catapulted me to even greater heights.

“It certainly was a more commercially driven project, and though different to the music that I made before, I enjoyed the success of it immensely.”

Suddenly Leo was that household name and, in 1976/77, the tracks You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, and When I Need You, both scored in a big way, on both sides of the Atlantic, both being number one in the US Billboard Top 100, whilst the latter gave him one of only two number ones in the UK Singles Charts.

You Make Me Feel Like Dancing would even score a 1977 Grammy Award for best rhythm and blues song, although expectations were pretty much elsewhere that night.

The success is still a surprise to Leo even now, over four decades later.

He says: “We were also up for record of the year with When I Need You and expected that one to win.

“I was late for the awards and missed the presentation due to my plane from the UK getting delayed and when I sat down, Count Basie on my left told me 'Son, you just won a Grammy!' It was such a thrill.”

The Northern Echo:

NOW, over four decades on and having seen and done so much, including a return to the top of the charts in 2006 with Thunder In My Heart Again (remix with Meck), and a move Down Under to Australia, the youthful-looking, all-dancing icon continues to wow across the globe and has brought his sound back to British shores.

“It’s always great to be back in the UK, from Soho to Brighton, by way of Cornwall and Glasgow,” he says.

“I like searching out all the places I used to haunt, and see if they’ve changed.

“Many haven’t at all under the surface, but it’s going to be another great tour and I’m looking forward to the shows immensely.”

As for the album, Leo’s 24th since the release of Silverbird in 1973, Selfie dropped in late April via the Demon Music Group. A 15-track, limited edition LP, it has all the hallmarks of a Leo Sayer classic.

“I wanted to make an album by myself. I’ve always been envious of painters who never need to get anyone else in to help finish their artworks,” he says.

“Different people working on each colour or part of the canvas just doesn’t seem like true art and this time I wanted to make an album by myself.

“With the technology and computer-based tools now available, I thought why not?

“I must admit it took a long time, I had to learn or invent techniques I never imagined or had attempted before to get the results I was hearing in my head.

“I had to trust my ears and my imagination to find the solutions.

“I don’t know if I’d do this again, but it’s been very satisfying.

“I’ve worked completely in a vacuum, alone in a studio at my new home in Australia, far away from all distractions.

“To my great surprise, friends and colleagues have been encouraging in their support.

“They knew I needed to do this, get it out of my system. So here it is – Selfie.

“I hope you like it.”

Leo Sayer appears as part of his Just A Boy At 70 tour at Sage Gateshead on Saturday, June 8. Tickets available from