I thought I had written about Raymond Edward “Gilbert” O’Sullivan before this, but evidently I hadn’t.
Gilbert O’Sullivan had three songs that reached the Top Ten, and they spent a total of 21 weeks there. He was generally more popular in the UK and his native Ireland. His biggest hit was his first, “Alone Again (Naturally),” which hit the Top Ten in July 1972 and spent six non-consecutive weeks at #1. It was barely edged out by Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” as the #1 record of the year. There’s an interesting video on YouTube where he tells the true story behind the lyrics. Basically, none of the things that happened in the song happened to him.
O’Sullivan’s follow-up song, “Clair,” peaked at #2 later that year, spending seven weeks in the Top Ten in December and on into January 1973. Clair was the daughter of Gilbert’s producer and owner of MAM Records, Gordon Mills. More on him in a minute.
Gilbert had one more Top Ten hit in the US, “Get Down,” which reached #7 and spent two weeks in the Top Ten. Sales fell off after that, and in the mid-Seventies he discovered that the recording contract he had with MAM Records and Gordon Mills benefitted Mills much more than him. He sued and endured a protracted legal battle. In 1982 the court found in his favor and awarded him £7 million. He continues to record and perform, being especially popular in Japan.
Gilbert O’Sullivan, your Two for Tuesday, July 4, 2017.