Carole Bayer Sager

Carole Bayer Sager (born March 8, 1947) is an American songwriter and occasional singer who released two 1977/78 albums on Elektra, followed by the 1981 Boardwalk release Sometimes Late at Night.

As a lyricist, she’s penned hits for The Mindbenders (“A Groovy Kind of Love”), Leo Sayer (“When I Need You”), Asha Puthli (“She Loves to Hear the Music”), Michael Jackson (“It’s the Falling In Love“), Christopher Cross (“Arthur’s Theme”), Neil Diamond (“Heartlight”), and Dionne Warwick (“That’s What Friends Are For”). Her writing collaborators over the years include Peter Allen, Melissa Manchester, Albert Hammond, Bruce Roberts, Marvin Hamlisch, and Burt Bacharach.

Her best-known songs as a performer are the 1977 UK/Australian hit “You’re Moving Out Today” and the 1981 US Top 30 single “Stronger Than Before.”

She was born Carole Bayer to a Jewish family in Manhattan, where she lived mere blocks away from the Brill Building, a famous songwriter’s publishing house.

As a teenager, Bayer formed the pop-vocal duo Carole and Sherry with singer Sherry Harway. In 1962, they cut the single “Like I Gotta Get Away” (b/w “I Ain’t Ready Yet”), released on Pop-Side (USA) and Fontana (UK, sides reversed). Their second single, “Watch From the Corner” (b/w “Join the World Outside”), appeared on MGM in 1964.

In 1965, Bayer co-wrote “A Groovy Kind of Love” with another young lyricist, Toni Wine (b. 1947). It lifts the Rondo melody from Sonatina, Opus 36, No. 5. by classical composer Muzio Clementi. They first pitched the song to singer Lesley Gore, whose manager objected to the slang “groovy.” The earliest recorded version appeared that year on a French maxi-single by the American singing duo Diane and Annita. In 1966, a version by Manchester beatsters The Mindbenders (sung by a young Eric Stewart) reached #2 on both sides of the Atlantic. (Wine later sang the line “I’m gonna make your life so sweet” on the 1969 US #1 “Sugar, Sugar” by The Archies.)

After writing her first hit, Bayer graduated from New York University, where she majored in English, dramatic arts, and speech. In 1968, she penned lyrics to the Neil Sedaka tune “Make the Music Play,” recorded by Four Seasons frontman Frankie Valli on his second solo album Timeless. In 1970, Bayer married record-producer Andrew Sager. She would keep his surname despite their 1978 divorce.

Around the same time as her marriage, she started a writing partnership with Australian entertainer Peter Allen. One of their earliest compositions was “Jennifer,” recorded in 1971 by Bobby Sherman. Allen’s own second album, Tenterfield Saddler (1972), includes three Bayer Sager co-writes: “More Than I Like You,” “The Same Way I Came In,” and “The Other Side.” The first of those was also recorded by Allen’s then-wife, American song-and-dance star Liza Minnelli. In 1974, Scottish singer Maggie Bell (ex-Stone the Crows) covered “The Other Side” on her debut solo album Queen of the Night.

While working with Allen, Bayer Sager commenced another partnership with an up-and-coming Manhattan performer, Melissa Manchester. One of their earliest co-writes, “Heaven Help Us All,” was recorded in 1972 by singer Beverly Bremers for the motion picture Crazies. Manchester’s debut album, Home to Myself (Bell Records, 1973), contains six Sager co-writes: “If It Feels Good (Let It Ride),” “Easy,” “Something to Do With Loving You,” “Be Happy Now,” “One More Mountain To Climb,” and “Home to Myself.” (Sager herself recorded the last of those on her 1977 album).

In 1974, Allen released his third album, Continental American, which contains four Bayer Sager co-writes: “Everything Old Is New,” “The Natural Thing to Do,” “This Side Show’s Leaving Town,” and the title-track.

Also that year, they co-wrote “She Loves to Hear the Music,” which charts the humble beginnings and exploits of an industry party-goer. It was first cut for a 1974 single by soul singer King Soloman. In 1975, UK-based east Indian singer Asha Puthli popularized the song on her title-sake second album. Allen himself recorded the song for his 1976 fourth album Taught by Experts, which also includes the Bayer Sager co-writes “Back Doors Crying,” “Planes,” and “Quiet Please, There’s a Lady on Stage.”

Manchester’s 1975 third album, Melissa, contains four Bayer Sager co-writes: “We’ve Got Time,” “Stevie’s Wonder,” “This Lady’s Not Home Today,” and “Midnight Blue.” The last of those, written three years earlier and first pitched to Dusty Springfield, became Manchester’s first Billboard hit (#6). Her two 1976 albums, Better Days and Happy Endings and Help Is on the Way, contain a total of seven Bayer Sager co-writes: “Better Days,” “Come in From the Rain,” “Just You and I,” “Stand Up Woman,” “Good News,” “Help Is On the Way,” and “There’s More Where That Came From.”

In 1976, Bayer Sager collaborated on three songs with British songwriter Albert Hammond for his fifth album When I Need You: “You and I,” “Moonlight Lady,” and the title track. Later that year, English singer Leo Sayer covered “When I Need You” on his fourth album Endless Flight, produced by Richard Perry. In early 1977, Sayer’s version hit #1 on both sides of the Atlantic.



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