Shocking Songs From 1977: Leo Sayer’s ‘When I Need You’.
Seventies Hair Product Icon, Leo Sayer.
As detailed in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, by 1977 the amount of musical crap clogging up the British charts was causing many right-thinking people serious problems (although paradoxically, I have a lot to thank this drivel for, as it eventually drove me into the welcoming arms of Punk).
As mentioned in the book, one of a trio of chart villains that ultimately did for me was Leo Sayer and his dreadful “When I Need You”, which was a worldwide hit for Sayer and got to Number One in the British charts in February 1977.
I hated it then and I hate it now, although it became slightly more interesting when I was doing music research for Bombed Out!,when I discovered the songwriters of Sayer’s hit had ripped off a melody from a song by Leonard Cohen, called “Famous Blue Raincoat.”
Cohen’s management actually sued Sayer’s songwriters over it and won.
You can hear the ripped-off melody at 1.15 – 1.33 in the You Tube link to Leonard Cohen’s excellent track below.
And here’s the Leonard Cohen track, ‘Famous Blue Raincoats’ – listen to it at 1.15 – 1.33 to hear the melody.