Gilbert O'Sullivan (born Raymond Edward O'Sullivan; 1 December 1946) is an Irish singer songwriter, best known for his early 1970s hits "Alone Again (Naturally)", "Clair", and "Get Down". Born in Waterford, Ireland. In 1958 at the age of 11 he moved with his family to Swindon in England. Then he started to play guitar, piano and drums. He played drums in his first band The Doodles, and left them to join The Prefects, but also this was not for a long time. After finishing Swindon Art College, Gilbert moved to London in 1967 to try and further his musical career. From 1967 he started releasing singles. His success came slowly. (read more on wikipedia)
Links to Peel
Peel played Gilbert's debut single Disappear in 1967 and on the strength of that, his producer, Bernie Andrews booked him for a debut recording at the Piccadilly on 14th May 1968, backed by the 16 piece Keith Mansfield Orchestra. Although Gilbert only did one session for Peel's show, he was mentioned by JP as an artist who deserved attention in his ABC Of Beauty article in Disc & Music Echo, published in November 1968. ("Made two very strange singles for CBS. Silence ever since, which is a pity"). Apart from Peel, Kenny Everett was also an admirer of the singer and both DJ's played his records well into the early 70's. This was the period in which the singer had his biggest hits, which were most often heard on Radio 1's daytime shows, and only a few Peel plays can be found, although JP introduced him (as Gilbert O'Sullivan) on an In Concert show.
However, Gilbert O'Sullivan's image - he dressed like a 1940s schoolboy and distanced himself from the pop scene - was found off-putting by some Sounds Of The Seventies listeners, so he never became a fashionable figure, even if his songwriting was praised in magazines such as Let It Rock. During his time as a chart-topping artist, he was managed by Gordon Mills, who also guided the careers of Tom Jones and Englebert Humperdinck, and was therefore seen as appealing to a middle-of-the-road audience.
But when reviewing Gilbert O'Sullivan's Ooh-Wakka-Doo-Wakka-Day single for the Singles page in Disc & Music Echo of 10 June 1972, Peel mentioned that he had been "publicly castigated" by the singer "for not phoning him during the period while he was making the transition from being plain Gilbert to being Gilbert Sullivan".. JP described the single as a good record ("quite jaunty and has overtones of McCartney in spots...Gilbert's lyrics...even when they're deliberately inconsequential, are always worth hearing"), and also said, "if we've got to live by the charts alone, then let's have Gilbert O'Sullivan in them".
Although some of O'Sullivan's hit songs were thought of as excessively sentimental, others had more lasting appeal, like "Alone Again, Naturally", which the DJ praised in his Disc review quoted above, and "Nothing Rhymed", played by Peel as a new release in 1970 and later covered in folk style by Martin Carthy.
- You / What Can I Do / Disappear / My Front Door / Come On Home (& I Don't Know What To Do / Better Than Valentino on 16th June 1968)
Recorded live on 1971-11-18 at BBC Paris Theatre. Broadcast: 21 December 1971
- January Git
- Independent Air
- Came To See Me Yesterday
- Permissive Twit
- I Didn't Know What To Do
- We Will
- Uncle's Appendix Scar
- Thunder And Lightning
Other Shows Played
- 19 November 1967: Disappear (7" - Disappear / You) CBS
- 28 April 1968: What Can I Do (7") CBS
- 31 October 1970: Nothing Rhymed (single) MAM