He was the superstar who topped the UK and US single charts in the 70s with songs of endearing tunefulness, unabashed sentiment and existentialist musings. Today, Irish singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan continues to be regarded with tremendous affection and his songs remain well-loved around the world.
Gilbert O’Sullivan was born Raymond Edward O’Sullivan in 1946 in Ireland. He moved to Swindon, England with his family aged seven and after a formal education became a student at Swindon Art College, specializing in graphic design.
But he had another love – music – and after forming and joining local bands as a drummer/vocalist, he started writing his own songs, heavily influenced by The Beatles as writers and Bob Dylan as a performer. Calling himself Gilbert, with a very distinctive image, two singles released by CBS Records and one with the Major Minor label, got little attention. Undeterred, he sent a demo tape to Gordon Mills, the man behind Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck, who impressed with his song writing, became his manager. The result was his first single on the MAM label, Nothing Rhymed, became a UK Top Ten hit in 1970.
More hit singles and a debut album Himself followed. But it was 1972’s Alone Again (Naturally) that sealed his fame, topping the USA charts for six weeks and garnering three Grammy nominations. Soon after, he got his first three British number one hits with Clair, Get Down and LPBack to Front. Gilbert was named “Songwriter of the Year” at the 18th Ivor Novello Awards, embarked on an eighteen city UK tour and a USA tour, performed sold-out concerts, clocked another UK Top 10 hit with Why Oh Why Oh Why and in 1974 won a third Ivor Novello award.
Fast Forwards to 2022 Gilbert is enjoying one of the most creative and commercially successful periods of an outstanding career, Gilbert O’Sullivan has continued to look to the future while his famous back catalogue has won respect and adoration all over the world. His 2018 album reached the top 20 and he now returns for a solo show that will see him present new songs alongside classics such as ‘Alone Again Naturally’, ‘Clair’ and ‘Nothing Rhymed’ in an intimate and unforgettable setting.