Gilbert O'Sullivan

Gilbert O'Sullivan

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Gilbert O'Sullivan

Img_capt =
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Raymond Edward O'Sullivan
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1946|12|1 Waterford, County Waterford
Died =
Origin = Swindon, Wiltshire
Instrument =
Voice_type =
Genre = Pop music
Occupation = Singer-songwriter, Pianist
Years_active = 1967 - present
Label = Bygum Records
Associated_acts =
Notable_instruments = Piano

Raymond Edward O'Sullivan (born 1 December 1946, Waterford, County Waterford, Ireland) known professionally as Gilbert O'Sullivan, is an Irish singer-songwriter, best known for his early 1970s hits "Alone Again (Naturally)", "Clair" and "Get Down".


Early in his life O'Sullivan's family moved to Swindon Wiltshire England and here O'Sullivan began to develop an interest in music and art. At Swindon Art College in 1963 he met Rick Davies who would later become a member of Supertramp.

O'Sullivan signed a five-year contract with CBS Records in 1967, where Stephen Shane, then Professional Manager at CBS's April/Blackwood publishing division, originally signed him and redesignated him Gilbert O'Sullivan, a pun on the names of the Savoy Opera writing team of Gilbert and Sullivan. However, after two unsuccessful singles with CBS, and one with the Irish label "Major Minor", he sent some demo tapes to Gordon Mills, the manager of Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck, whereupon he signed with Mills' label, MAM Records. His eye-catching visual image comprised a pudding basin haircut, cloth cap and short trousers, and was O'Sullivan's own idea. Mills reportedly hated it, but O'Sullivan insisted on going with it for a couple of years, after which a more modern look took over, in which he often wore a sweater bearing a large letter 'G'. At the end of 1970, O'Sullivan achieved his first UK Top 10 hit with "Nothing Rhymed", which reached No. 8 (No. 1 in The Netherlands), and enjoyed nearly five years of major success. This run incorporated thirteen more hit singles, six of which reached the UK Top 10, plus four Top 10 albums, including "Himself" (1971), "Back To Front" (1972), "I'm A Writer Not A Fighter" (1973) and "A Stranger In My Own Back Yard" (1974). In 1972, his international star rose after his self-penned ballad, "Alone Again (Naturally)", a No. 3 hit in Britain, became a chart-topper in the U.S., spending six weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and selling nearly two million copies there.

He also landed two consecutive UK chart toppers, with the songs "Clair" (1972) and "Get Down" (1973), which reached No.2 and No. 7 respectively in America. However, things later turned sour, as O'Sullivan discovered his recording contract with MAM Records greatly favoured the label's owner. A litigation followed, with prolonged argument over how much money his songs had earned and how much of that money he had actually received. Eventually the court found in O'Sullivan's favour, awarding him seven million pounds sterling in damages. He had won, but the court battle had put his recording career on hold.

Sometime before the case had come to court, he had returned to his old record label, CBS, after a five-year chart absence in 1980, with a new contract. The first single of the new contract - "What's In A Kiss" - reached No. 19 in the UK. [ [] ] But then the hits completely dried up, and due in part to the court case, O'Sullivan released no new material between 1982 and 1987. Apart from a minor hit single in 1990 and a compilation album in 1991, O'Sullivan was absent from the charts, until another compilation album returned him to the Top 20 in 2004. He is also noted for bringing about the practise of clearing samples in hip-hop music as a result of the 1991 case, Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records, Inc., ["Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records, Inc.", 780 F. Supp. 182 (S.D.N.Y. 1991)] in which he sued rapper Biz Markie over the rights to use a sample of O'Sullivan's song "Alone Again (Naturally)"

However, O'Sullivan continues to record and perform to the present day, and enjoys some success in Japan. His latest album ("A Scruff At Heart") was released in 2007.

On 14 July 2008 O'Sullivan released the new single Never Say Di.


Contemporary usage of his songs

*Two of O'Sullivan's more famous songs, "Get Down" and "Alone Again (Naturally)", were used in the closing and opening credits (respectively) of the anime "Maison Ikkoku". Because the songs were used without authorisation it caused a minor uproar and only episode 24 featured them, after which the previous songs replaced them. Because of copyright reasons they have not been included with any home video releases outside of Japan.
* "Nothing Rhymed" was used at the start of the second series finale of "Consolevania", played over an archive new reel montage of an alternate history of the 20th century. The same song was a top hit in Italy in 1971, performed by the local group "I Profeti" with the title translated into "Era bella" ("She was beautiful").


* Guinness Book of British Hit Singles - 16th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-190-X
* Guinness Book of British Hit Albums - 7th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-619-7
* The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits - ISBN 0-85112-250-7
* The Book of Golden Discs - 2nd Edition - ISBN 0-214-20512-6


External links

* [ Official Gilbert O'Sullivan Page]
* [ Gilbert O'Sullivan on magazine covers]
* [ Biography at AMG website]

NAME= O'Sullivan, Gilbert
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= O'Sullivan, Raymond Edward
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Singer-songwriter
DATE OF BIRTH= 1946-12-1
PLACE OF BIRTH=Waterford, County Waterford

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