When I Need You – Leo Sayer | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1) & Adult Contemporary; 1977

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

By early 1977, former Sussex art student Leo Sayer had five Top 10’s to his name in England, while Stateside he’d tallied two to date: Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance) and You Make Me Feel Like Dancing. For the follow-up to Dancing, Leo reached once again into his current album, Endless Flight, and pulled out When I Need You. The song originally appeared on an album by its co-writer, Albert Hammond, who’d hit with It Never Rains In Southern California in 1972. Hammond completed the melody for When I Need You first, then needed some words to go with it. Enter Carole Bayer Sager, who quickly dashed off lyrics based on Albert’s feelings about being on the road and away from those he loved. Albert’s song went unnoticed until Sayer’s producer, Richard Perry, brought it to the singer’s attention. Perry assembled an A-Team of session players to back Leo, who ended up with his biggest hit both here and abroad.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Richard Perry

Lyrics Written by:

  • Albert Hammond
  • Carole Bayer Sager