LEO Sayer plays Swindon next week as part of a major UK tour marking his 70th birthday - and his new album.

The iconic singer-songwriter, who helped to soundtrack the 1970s with hits such as When I Need You and The Show Must Go On, will be at the Wyvern Theatre on Thursday, May 2.

Although based in Australia, the Sussex-born star enjoys returning to the UK.

“I count myself very lucky to have a wonderful band at home in the UK,” he said. “I always look forward to coming back to perform.

“From Soho to Brighton by way of Cornwall to Glasgow, I like searching out all the places I used to haunt and see if they’ve changed. Many haven’t at all, under the surface.

“It’s going to be another great tour and I’m looking forward to the shows immensely.”

The name of the tour, Just a Boy at 70, refers not just to his age but to the title of his second album, which was a line from Giving It All Away, a hit song Leo co-wrote for Who singer Roger Daltrey.

Leo recalled: “I was trained a graphic designer and initially that was my chosen profession, which brought me close to the music business when I designed record covers for artists like Bob Marley in the late 60s.

“I had always been around bands and also played harmonica with blues musicians, some of whom went on to great things themselves.

“I didn’t decide to give it a serious go until I met [David] Courtney and [Adam] Faith. David’s musical abilities as a co-writer and Adam’s talent as a manager were enough to persuade me.”

Leo’s own rise to celebrity began with The Show Must Go On, which he performed in striking Pierrot costume and make-up.

“There were two attempts at singles before that, the first with my group Patches in 1972, then with Why Is Everybody Going Home in 1974 from my debut album, Silverbird, both produced by Adam and David.

“The Show Must Go On was next up and was a runaway hit. Things happened very quickly after that and I became a star when I performed as the Pierrot, which seemed to capture the world’s attention in 1974.”

More hit singles and albums followed, and When I Need You topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

“It was great, and interesting, as I became a big name in the States and all over the world because of these hits.

“It opened up so many doors including living in Los Angeles, playing in Las Vegas, touring all over the world, and back at home starring in my own television series.”

Such was his fame that he was even invited to be a special guest star on the smash hit Muppet Show.

Although his greatest success was in the 1970s, Leo has never stopped working; new album Selfie is his eighth since the turn of the century.

Thanks to the latest technology, he has been able to fulfil a longstanding creative ambition to take total control of such a project.

“I wanted to make an album by myself. I’ve always been envious of painters, who never need to get anyone else in to help finish their artworks.

“Different people working on each colour or part of the canvas just doesn’t seem like true art. And this time I wanted to make an album by myself.

“With the technology and computer-based tools now available, I thought why not?”

Tickets for Leo’s Wyvern Theatre appearance, which begins at 7.30pm, cost from £36 to £38.50, and group discounts are available.

The box office can be reached on 01793 524481 and via swindontheatres.co.uk