I know it’s tragically uncool to like this album, but who cares? You Make Me Feel Like Dancing is a great disco single, and I’m not afraid to say I love it. Disco is always looked at unfairly with shame and regret, and usually the only thing more artistically bankrupt than a disco act is a white disco act.
It’s a shame that Leo Sayer doesn’t get the benefit of a career reappraisal every couple of years like the Bee Gees might, for example. Endless Flight was a Top Ten record on both sides of the Atlantic (#4 in the UK, #10 in the USA), and You Make Me Feel Like Dancing hit the #1 spot in both countries.
Production-wise, the album sounds similar in feel to Elton John’s output in the mid-‘70s. The record features a who’s who of ‘70s rock talent – Earl Slick, Paul Buckmaster, Steve Gadd, Bobby Keys, Michael Omartian, Ray Parker Jr. and Jeff Porcaro amongst others. It’s difficult not to like it when it sounds this good.
When I was at University in Huddersfield, Leo Sayer did a performance at one of the nightclubs. It was our regular Tuesday night haunt so we would have been there anyway, but for some reason he was booked to come out onto the dancefloor in the middle of the night and sing a few songs. It sounds remarkable now that this happened, but as strange as it sounds, it worked really well.
I happened to be standing around between the door where he appeared, and the dancefloor, so I reached out and drunkenly patted him on the shoulder when he walked past. Man, he was small. I know he’s regarded as a diminutive little fellow, but he was absolutely tiny in real life. It’s quite possible in my stupor that I thought he was a small child, and I was just trying to encourage him along.
He bounced onto the dancefloor, led by a couple of big, burly bouncers (making him look even smaller than he was) and everybody parted for him like Moses and the Red Sea. He then sang along to a couple of his well-known songs, singing live into a microphone, accompanied by a backing track.
Everybody loved it, especially all the ladies in the audience who absolutely fell in love with him; and we’re talking about 18-19 year old University students here – most of them wouldn’t have known who he was. As a measure of how unfamiliar they were with him, on our way home the girls in our group kept asking me to sing that song of his they really liked (When I Need You) – they’d drunkenly forgotten it, and it wasn’t familiar enough for them to recall it.
It’s nice eating a kebab with a belly full of beer and a head full of Leo Sayer melodies.
Hit: You Make Me Feel Like Dancing
Hidden Gem: How Much Love