|B-side "Baby My Heart"|
|Format 7" (45 rpm)|
|Released April 1960 (UK)
May 1960 (US)|
Writer(s) Sonny Curtis, Jerry Allison
"More Than I Can Say" is a song written by Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison, both former members of Buddy Holly's band the Crickets. They recorded it in 1959 soon after Holly's death and released it in 1960. Their original version hit No. 42 on British Record Retailer Chart in 1960. It has been notably performed by singers Bobby Vee, Leo Sayer, and Sammy Kershaw.
The Crickets version
"More Than I Can Say" was the third single from the Crickets' second release, In Style With the Crickets. The song was written by guitarist Sonny Curtis and drummer Jerry Allison around an hour in 1959. The hook was left unfinished at the time, and at the time of recording, the hook was left this way with no vocals, only the "wo-wo yay-yay," which became a memorable part of the song. The single went on to become a minor hit in the UK, entering the Top 40 and peaking at 26. Curtis considers this song to be one of his most prolific, looking back at the success subsequent artists have had performing it.
Bobby Vee version
Vee is an American pop music singer whose prominence in the music industry arose from tragedy. After Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash in February 1959, a then-teenaged Vee was one of a group of local musicians recruited to play at the next leg of a scheduled concert in Fargo, North Dakota. In 1961, Vee (whose other hit singles include "Take Good Care of My Baby" and "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes") recorded "More Than I Can Say", and it reached No. 61 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was a bigger hit in the United Kingdom, where the song and its B-side, "Staying In", peaked at No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart. He also reached No. 8 in New Zealand.
Beatles cover version
According to eminent author Mark Lewisohn in "The Complete Beatles Chronicles" (p. 364) The Beatles performed More Than I Can Say live from at least 1961 through 1962 (in Hamburg and Liverpool and elsewhere). Author Allen J. Weiner in "The Beatles The Ultimate Recording Guide" (p. 206) affirms this with the note that it came from a setlist made at the time by Harrison. It is unclear whether the lead vocal was by John Lennon or Paul McCartney or possibly even George Harrison. Sadly no recording is known to survive.
Leo Sayer version
Sayer is a British singer-songwriter who enjoyed the majority of his chart success in the 1970s and early 1980s. He had two singles reach No. 1 in the U.S., "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" and "When I Need You", both in 1977. He nearly had a third song achieve this feat, as his cover version of "More Than I Can Say" spent five weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in December 1980 and January 1981, kept from the top spot by "Lady" by Kenny Rogers and "(Just Like) Starting Over" by John Lennon. Sayer's version of the song was certified a Gold Record by the RIAA. It also spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart. In the U.K., the song peaked at No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart, while it spent two weeks atop the Kent Music Report in Australia. Sayer has stated that while looking for an "oldie" to record for his album Living in a Fantasy, he saw a TV commercial for a greatest hits collection by Vee and chose the song on the spot: "We went into a record store that afternoon, bought the record and had the song recorded that night."
Additional cover versions
Additional cover versions have been recorded by numerous artists including the following: