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Album: Endless FlightReleased: 1976Charted:
This ebullient song about a girl that brings rainbows and happiness into the singer's life was Leo Sayer's first #1 hit on the billboard charts, followed rapidly by his other #1 "When I Need You
," which was also his first UK #1 hit. Sayer had a pretty solid performance on the UK charts, scoring Top-20 hits from 1973 to 1983, and had another #1 hit in 2006 with "Thunder In My Heart
A #1 hit in Canada as well as the United States, this followed up Sayer's first hit, which also had a dance theme: "Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance)." Sayer also had a less successful song in 1974 called "The Dancer
The Scissor Sisters' 2006 hit "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'
" is often compared to this song, which matches it on so many levels that it has to be an intentional parody. Since the Scissor Sisters are something of a novelty act - compare them to The Tubes - this is most likely the case.
"You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" gained Sayer a 1978 Grammy for best R&B song. This made two consecutive years that a white artist won the award - Boz Scaggs was the previous winner for "Lowdown
This song has also popped up in the soundtrack to the 2000 film Charlie's Angels, which is based on the TV series. Sayer also performed it for an episode of The Muppet Show, and even re-recorded it with The Wiggles, an Australian group of children's entertainers, for their 2006 DVD of the same title. This is quite a head-spinning fact when you consider that The Wiggles aim themselves at the preschool demographic, while this song is as '70s as a disco ball in bell-bottoms.
In 2005, Sayer moved to Australia and became a permanent Australian citizen. According to our copy of The Harmony Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, he started out wearing clown make-up and Pierrot costume as part of his act.
In an interview with Rock Cellar Magazine, Sayer recalls the song coming out of an impromptu jam session that was fortuitously captured on tape by his quick-thinking producer. "I had a bunch of musicians around me who were very inspiring, principally Jeff Porcaro, who became a great friend, and Ray Parker Jr., a great classic Motown guitarist from Stevie Wonder's band," he said. "We start talking about favorite songs. Jeff and I phoned each other in the morning. I said, 'Have you heard this f--king song on the radio: Shirley & Company, 'Shame, Shame, Shame.' So he stopped by Tower Records on the way to the studio and we put it on the player and we said, 'F--k, man, what a groove!'
And then a break comes and Jeff starts playing the groove of that record and I start singing. And Ray is playing the guitar groove although he's reinvented it and he’s playing this pluck thing on his Les Paul. And I'm just jamming along. And [producer] Richard Perry is in the studio. So he rushed to the tape machine, threw the tape on and started recording us. And a few days later, he said, 'That is the hit. That is the most exciting thing I've ever heard. That is a crossover.'"