The group's leader, Georg Kajanus, had previously written "Flying Machine" for Cliff Richard in 1971, although it was Richard's first British single that failed to reach the top 30. Sailor developed from Kajanus Pickett, a singer-songwriter duo that had formed when Phil Pickett and Kajanus met in 1970 at E H Morris, a music publisher where Pickett briefly worked. They later recorded the album Hi Ho Silver for Signpost Records. Sailor first came together in 1973 with the addition of musicians Henry Marsh (ex-Gringo) and Grant Serpell (ex-Affinity).
The group's work included Kajanus's invention the Nickelodeon, a musical instrument made of pianos, synthesizers and glockenspiels that allowed the four-piece band to reproduce on stage the acoustic arrangements that they had done in the recording studio.
The group's first UK single was "Traffic Jam" from their first album, Sailor. "A Glass of Champagne", issued late the following year from the Trouble album, reached No. 2 in the UK Singles Chart. The follow-up "Girls, Girls, Girls" also made the Top 10, but of their subsequent singles, only "One Drink Too Many" registered in the UK Top 40.
Sailor's original line-up split up in 1978, although Pickett and Marsh released more material as Sailor with Gavin and Virginia David in 1980, with an album of Pickett compositions called Dressed for Drowning, produced by James William Guercio at his Caribou studio in Colorado (Epic / Caribou).
Sailor, the Musical Journey
The premiere of Sailor, the Musical Journey at the Carnegie Hall was in July 2006 in Dunfermline, Scotland. The new musical was written by Bill Blenman and made up entirely of Kajanus compositions.