Jun 032011

Close your eyes...

Remember BigSteve‘s Listen But Don’t Look Principle? It’s an official Rock Town Hall Glossary term, if you ever need to cite it in your own works of rock criticism, but I was reminded of it tonight, when I went searching for some vintage Leo Sayer videos—solely for the purpose, or so I thought, of laughing at how the guy looked!

I found the following clip and expected a hearty belly laugh:


  16 Responses to “Listen But Don’t Look: Leo Sayer”

  1. I was not expecting that at all. The One Man Band song isn’t half bad.

    The only other one I listened to was Tumblin Dice and it got me thinking: sure it’s goofy and disposable. But would today’s equivalent be? Some American Idol people? Christina Agulara and friend? Who ever it would be, it would involve some of that extremely annoying, overly emotive, all-technique-but-no-soul, vocal “style” that’s been so pervasive for the last 10 years or so. My conclusion: Disposable pop crap was somewhat less offensive back in the good old days.

  2. tonyola

    There’s no question that Leo was a talented guy, though I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan. However, he bears responsibility for the annoying “Long Tall Glasses” song. This is one you don’t want to either watch or listen.

  3. 2000 Man

    How small is that guy? Linda Ronstadt is pretty tiny, and he looks like he’s much smaller than she is. Until I watched the commercial at the end, I thought maybe someone had picked him up and stuck him in a mayonnaise jar with some grass, a leaf and a stick, thinking he was a singing bug and that;s why we don’t see him anymore.

    Linda looks a little queasy when he reaches down and grabbs her hand at the end of Tumblin’ Dice!

  4. misterioso

    All good points, but I am willing to admit that I might be just a tiny bit more interested in Roger’s solo work if he, too, had dressed as a sad clown. In fact, Pete around the time of All the Best Cowboys could have used that look, too. Just saying.

    But as for Leo, come on, people: feel the love! Two more.

    More than I Can Say:

    And of course, the great, great, How Much Love:

  5. misterioso

    2000man, let’s just say that Leo was once addressed by Paul Williams as “little man.”


  6. BigSteve

    You Make Me feel Like dancing was a good record, but it would have been SO much better without the falsetto. His regular singing voice was plenty high enough.

    Sayer has such serious Look issues. His mime Look is almost preferable to the Richard Simmons Look. It’s hard to use the Listen But Don’t Look principle when the artist has such a strong visual presentation.

  7. BigSteve

    I was listening to (and not looking at) More Than I Can Say and trying to place it. It’s a song by Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison of the Crickets that was a hit for Bobby Vee in the early 60s.

  8. GREAT point about his mime/sad clown Look being preferable! This was some test of your principle, wasn’t it?

    Good point, too, about the unnecessary falsetto.

  9. As one of the commentators said re: “More Than I Can Say”:

    You never hear this kind of music anymore.

  10. misterioso

    True, as far as it goes; as is cdm’s remark that “Disposable pop crap was somewhat less offensive back in the good old days.” Even though intellectually I have a hard time accepting this idea, I cannot help but agree. This is all, I realize with resignation, part of the decline and fall that goes with being post-40. A day comes when you find yourself thinking, “That Leo Sayer, he really was quite the little songsmith, was he not? Not like those damn kids today.”

  11. misterioso

    Did that feature the piano stylings of Elston Gunnn?

  12. misterioso

    By the way, Mod, if it isn’t too late for your most compelling videos, you owe it to yourself to watch Bobby Vee’s “video” of The Night Has A Thousand Eyes. Clearly this is one of the greatest things ever.

  13. The Scopitone with the bongo beach party? I’m watching it now. Awesome!

  14. misterioso

    Yes! Sorry, I didn’t even notice that I neglected to provide the link.

  15. plasticsun

    I have a good friend who has a strange fascination with Leo – this is his favorite – More of the clown – a tour de force of Leo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6gEkfwozhE

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