The cast

Oral histories




He started out as a drummer, playing in Adam Faith's band in the early 60s and then gigging with other outfits, until by the end of the decade he reckoned that he'd had enough. Still wanting to be part of the rock scene, however, he advertised for artists in the local newspaper in Brighton with the idea that he might move into management. He whittled the tapes down to a shortlist of about fifty. And then ... but, hey, he can tell his own story:

'I hired the Pavillion Theatre in Brighton and held auditions, and I hadn't found anything interesting, but around band #47 this band Patches came on. The songs were okay, nothing special, but I heard this voice and I'm looking around this band thinking: where's it coming from? And then suddenly he wanders on into the middle of the stage from the side, this little thing with fuzzy hair and turns round and it's Leo Sayer.'

Courtney knew that he was onto something special and, whilst the rest of Patches faded from the story, he and Leo began writing songs together and producing some rough demos. Picking on his best contact in the industry, Courtney played the tapes to Adam Faith, who was equally impressed and proposed that he and David should produce and manage Sayer. He also volunteered to fund the recording of the first album so that they could approach record companies with a finished product (that's your dream manager, that is).

The album was Silverbird, but even before it was released the songs of Sayer & Courtney were already attracting interest. Roger Daltry had heard some of their material and asked them to write his first solo album, which was the kind of thing that got you noticed in those days. So too was an appearance on the BBC TV show In Concert, where Leo debuted his clown make-up, subsequently used to promote his first hit 'One Man Band'.

Courtney split with Sayer shortly after the second album, Just a Boy, to pursue his own singing career. He actually made a couple of damn good albums (as well as writing the first Dollar hits), but I think you're going to have to hunt them down on vinyl cos as far as I know none of it's been re-issued on CD.

And I believe the same's true of those first two Leo Sayer albums, which is a tragedy. If your image of Leo is 'You Make Me Feel Like Dancing' and 'When I Need You', then you're missing out on the early work which is incomparably better. Like David Essex's first albums, Silverbird and Just A Boy represent some of the most neglected genius of the era, a blend of Bowie-esque theatricals with a pure pop sensibility that deserves to be celebrated forever.

More recently David Courtney founded the first ever Walk Of Fame in Britain, celebrating the stars and heroes of Brighton. He's also still active in music - visit his web-site from the Links page.

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Eddie Amoo
Ken Andrew
Dave Bartram
Mike Batt
Wayne Bickerton
David Blaylock
Trevor Bolder
Jacko Boogie
Tony Burrows
Sally Carr
Tina Charles
David Courtney
Rob Davis
Richard Dodd
Patrick Doonan
Ray Dorset
Herbie Flowers
Ken Gold
Graham Gouldman
Dave Hill
Harvey Hinsley
John Hughes
Jim Irvin
Jimmy James
Steve Jones
Lorraine Kelly
Paul Layton
Les McKeown
Russell Mael
Johnny Moore
Mike Moran
Chris Norman
Bill Oddie
David Paton
Lyn Paul
Phil Pickett
Suzi Quatro
Chris Rae
Chris Redburn
Norman Rogerson
Ron Roker
John Rossall
Andy Scott
Eddie Seago
Mat Snow
Chris Spedding
John Springate
Ray Stiles
Alwyn W Turner
David Van Day
Phil Wainman
Johnny Wakelin
Jeff Wayne
Alan Williams
Pip Williams