My Legends of Pop Music – Part Twenty-Six – Gilbert O’Sullivan

If get this right, there will be many cover versions by future bands. I shall try and link live versions if they exist from the tellybox or a film, the sound quality may not be the best, but there is nothing like watching a real talent live.

So, in a sort of chronological order, my twenty sixth legend is: Gilbert O’Sullivan

I will confess that there are times when I do not want rock music as such with the big band sounds.  I do like ballads and when Gilbert arrived on the scene in 1970 I just found his music to be a most pleasant change from glam rock.

He still does regular tours.  To my shame I have never seen him live.  I intend to rectify this soon though.  Tour dates are on his website:

Leeds on the 8th April and Birmingham 12th April for those in the UK.  He is also doing dates in the USA and Ireland.

Curtesy of Wiki:

Raymond Edward O’Sullivan (born 1 December 1946), known professionally as Gilbert O’Sullivan, is an Irish singer-songwriter who achieved his most significant success during the early 1970s with hits including “Alone Again (Naturally)“, “Clair“, and “Get Down“. O’Sullivan’s songs are often marked by his distinctive, percussive piano playing style and observational lyrics using word play.

Born in Waterford, Ireland, O’Sullivan settled in Swindon, England, as a child. In 1967, O’Sullivan began pursuing a career in music. Worldwide, he has charted 16 top 40 records including six No. 1 songs, the first of which was 1970’s “Nothing Rhymed“. Across his career, he has recorded 19 studio albums, up to his UK top 20 self-titled record in 2018. The music magazine Record Mirror voted him the top UK male singer of 1972. He has received three Ivor Novello Awards, including “Songwriter of the Year” in 1973.

In 1972, O’Sullivan achieved major international stardom with “Alone Again (Naturally)“, a ballad which touches upon suicide and loss. It reached No. 3 in the UK, No. 1 in the US (spending six non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and selling nearly two million copies), No. 2 in New Zealand (11 weeks on the charts in total), No. 1 in Canada for 2 weeks (13 weeks in the Top 40); and No. 1 in Japan (21 weeks on the chart). In total US sales for 1972, O’Sullivan’s hit was topped only by Roberta Flack‘s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face“. Both songs were nominated for a Grammy Award in the Song of the Year and Record of the Year categories in 1973, but Flack won both.

O’Sullivan’s disc sales exceeded ten million in 1972 and made him the top star of the year. O’Sullivan’s success led to his taking part in the BBC’s anniversary programme Fifty Years of Music in November 1972. O’Sullivan was ranked by Record Mirror as the number 1 male singer of 1972, and in May 1973, he won an Ivor Novello award for “British Songwriter of the Year.”

1973 saw the release of O’Sullivan’s third album, I’m a Writer, Not a Fighter, which reflected a new emphasis on rock music and funk influences. Its lead single, the electric keyboard-based “Get Down”, reached No. 1 in the UK, Belgium and Germany, No. 7 in both the US and Canada, and No. 3 in the Netherlands. Following “Alone Again (Naturally)” and “Clair”, “Get Down” was O’Sullivan’s third million-seller, with the RIAA gold disc award presented on 18 September 1973. His November 1974 single “Christmas Song” reached No. 12 in the UK and No. 5 in Ireland.

Gilbert released a fifth album with MAM in 1977, Southpaw, but it failed to chart. O’Sullivan discovered his recording contract with MAM Records greatly favoured the label’s owner, Gordon Mills. A lawsuit followed, with prolonged argument over how much money his songs had earned and how much of that money he had actually received. Eventually, in May 1982, the court found in O’Sullivan’s favour, describing him as a “patently honest and decent man”, who had not received a just proportion of the vast income his songs had generated. They awarded him £7 million in damages (£25,256,000 as of 2022). Although he had won, the court battle put his recording career on hold.

A full discography is here: – Gilbert O’Sullivan

Underneath The Blanket Go [1971] – rocking it up a bit.

We Will (TOTP), a soppy one.  Pretty sure it is the Winifred School Choir in the background, super song though.

Alone Again Naturally here he is live in London in 2016. He can still belt them out.  Awesome.

Matrimony Live in Japan in 2010.  He really is a huge start in Japan.

Ooh Wakka Doo Wakka Day – I cannot believe I still know the words and sing along to this!

I Don’t Love You But I Think I Like You – ToTP from about 1975

Clair – Classic soppy ballad, terrific tune.  Live on ToTP in 1972.

Out Of The Question – (The Music Of Gilbert O’Sullivan Show 1972), Could not find a high quality live version.

Ooh Baby – complete with Spanish sub-titles. (best version I could find)

No Way – Just a recording, no high quality live vids found.

I’m Not Dreaming Of A White Christmas Original Video.  I am not a big lover of Christmas songs, but I do make an exception for this. (Pretty sure those Winifred School Choir are again in the background though)

What’s In A Kiss (Live in Japan, I think mid 80’s) Super song.

Along with the featured track, my favourite has to be this one:

Gilbert O’Sullivan feat. Elton John – Get Down (Gilbert O’Sullivan Show – 1973) great version this.

This is Gilbert O’Sullivan on the “This Morning” show from 29th Jan 2021. Seven and half minute’s interview and he sings live “Nothing Rhymed” at the end.  Superb.

Singalong, enjoy and be happy!

Links to previous Legend articles:

1-Buddy Holly 2-Elvis Presley 3-Everly brothers 4-Cliff Richard 5-Joe Brown
6-Gerry and the Pacemakers 7-Roy Orbison 8-The Seekers 9-The Hollies 10-The Rolling Stones
11-Beach Boys 12-The Monkees 13-Rod Stewart 14-T-Rex 15-Slade
16-10CC 17-Pussycat 18-The Kinks 19-Blondie 20-Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music
21-David Bowie 22-Meatloaf 23-The Temptations 24-Dusty Springfield 25-Fleetwood Mac
26-Gilbert O’Sullivan

Featured image: “Everything Rhymed!” by rolli22 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

© Phil the ex test manager 2022