Monday, November 18, 2013

Leo Sayer - Have You Ever Been in Love

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Have You Ever Been in Love, the tenth studio album from Leo Sayer. Following up his 1982 release World Radio (click here for that review), this one from 1983 only charted at number 15 in the UK.

Side one begins with “’Til You Come Back to Me“; as the second single, it stalled at number 51 in the UK. It is a cover of a song co-written by Stevie Wonder and first recorded in 1974 by Aretha Franklin under the title “Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do)”. Sayer’s version has a bit more of an optimistic view of this separation, thanks to a more up-beat arrangement.

The third single, “Sea of Heartbreak”, failed to make any waves on the charts. It features a slower tempo synth rhythm at its foundation.

Sayer previously had a hit with “More Than I Can Say” in 1980 when it appeared on his album Living in a Fantasy. It appears that version was just dropped onto this record to fill it out a bit (and seed it with some previously established hits).

“Darlin’” is a cover of the 1967 Beach Boys hit. Sayer and his backing band really update the sound of this one for a whole new 80’s audience, complete with synths and a drum machine.

“Don’t Wait Until Tomorrow”, co-written by Sayer and the album‘s producer Alan Tarney, is another slower tempo number. It features a slight tropical element with the percussion and Sayer tapping into his falsetto range.

“How Beautiful You Are” starts out slow and dramatic before winding up on the first verse.

“Orchard Road”, the first single, peaked at number 16 in the UK. The lyrics came from an all-night phone conversation Sayer had with his then wife; he pleads with her to return home and forgive him after his brief indiscretions.

Side two opens with “Aviation”, a story of a guy who spent his whole life working for the airlines only to be let go. He and his wife have to pick up the pieces and start anew.

“Heart (Stop Beating in Time)”, written by the Bee Gees, appeared on World Radio from the previous year. Again, it appears to be a direct addition from the earlier record with no changes.

“Your Love Still Brings Me to My Knees” bounces up next.

The title track is next. “Have You Ever Been in Love” also appeared previously on World Radio.

“Wounded Heart”, a catchy song about heartbreak, was written by Carlene Carter and Simon Climie.

“Love Games”, with a slight country sound, follows.

The closing track “Never Had a Dream Come True” has Motown roots, having been written by that label’s alumni Stevie Wonder, Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby. It was the lead track on Wonder’s 1970 album Signed, Sealed & Delivered. Sayer covers it here in a very solemn, respectful way.

Have You Ever Been in Love is an average adult contemporary album. In 1983, it would have been way too mellow for me. Today, though, I like a little easy-listening every now and then.

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