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Gilbert O'Sullivan

Margaret Aylward Dr Edward Barron Philip Barron Denis Cashman Raymond Chandler Paddy Coad Patrick Comerford Donncha Ruadh Val Doonican Sean Dunne Frank Edwards Alfie Hale John M Hearne William Hobson Dr Thomas Hussey Charles Kean John Keane Edmund Leamy D. P. Moran Gen Dick Mulcahy James Nash Peter O'Connor Jas Louis O'Donnell Pádraig Ó Fainín Gilbert O'Sullivan John Redmond Edmund I Rice James Rice, Mayor Lord Roberts V. C. John Roberts Frank Ryan Thomas Sexton Archbishop Sheehan Susan Smith John Treacy Luke Wadding William V. Wallace Cardinal Wiseman Bullocks Wyse Lucien Bonaparte Wyse



The famous singer Gilbert O'Sullivan was born on 1 December 1946, in Waterford city and was christened Raymond O'Sullivan. A few short years after Raymond was born the family moved to a new housing estate that had just been built (1946/48) on the Cork Road in Waterford where Raymond made a life-long friend, Peter Roche, now a quantity surveyor in Waterford.  Raymond's father died while he was still very young and the family moved to Swindon, England although family relations still live in, and around, Waterford. After attending art college, the singer was signed to CBS Records. Under the name Gilbert he issued the unsuccessful 'What Can I Do?' and soon moved on to Phil Solomon's Major Minor label, where 'Mr. Moody's Garden' also failed.  Seeking a new manager, Gilbert wrote to the star-making Gordon Mills, who had already launched Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck to international success. Mills was impressed by the demo tape enclosed and re-launched the artist on his new MAM label under the name Gilbert O'Sullivan. The debut 'Nothing Rhymed' had some clever lyrics and a strong melody. It reached the UK Top 10 in late 1970 and television audiences were amused, or puzzled, by the sight of O'Sullivan with his pudding basin haircut, short trousers and flat cap. The 'Bisto Kid' image was retained for the first few releases and the singer initially acted the part of an anti-star. At one point, he was living in the grounds of Mills' Weybridge house on a meagre £10 a week allowance. His hit-making potential was undeniable and his ability to pen a memorable melody recalled the urbane charm of Paul McCartney. Early UK successes included 'We Will', 'No Matter How I Try' and the major international hit, 'Alone Again (Naturally)'. Any suspicions that O'Sullivan's charm was largely parochial were dashed when the latter single broke through in America, peaking at number one and selling over a million copies. The debut album, 'Himself' was also highly accomplished and included the radio favourite 'Matrimony', which would have provided a sizeable hit if released as a single. O'Sullivan went on to become one of the biggest selling artists of 1972. That year he enjoyed two consecutive UK number one hits with 'Clair' (written in honour of Mills’s daughter) and 'Get Down'. These singles also reached the US Top 10. By this time, O'Sullivan's image had radically changed and he began to appreciate the superstar trappings enjoyed by Mills' other acts.

O'Sullivan's second album, Back To Front, reached number 1 in the UK and his appeal stretched across the board, embracing teen and adult audiences. For a time, he seemed likely to rival, and even excel, Elton John as Britain's most successful singer/songwriter export. Although further hits were forthcoming with 'Ooh Baby', 'Happiness Is You And Me' and 'Christmas Song', it was evident that his appeal had declined by the mid-70s. Following the UK Top 20 hit 'I Don't Love You But I Think I Like You' in the summer of 1975, his chart career ceased. After a spectacular falling out with Mills, he left MAM and returned to CBS, the label that had launched his career. Five years on, only one hit, 'What's In A Kiss?', emerged from the association. Minus Mills, it seemed that the superstar of the mid-70s was incapable of rekindling his once illustrious career. His disillusionment culminated in a High Court battle against his former manager and record company which came before justice Mars Jones in the spring of 1982. The judge not only awarded O'Sullivan substantial damages and had all agreements with MAM set aside, but decreed that all the singer's master tapes and copyrights should be returned. The case made legal history and had enormous repercussions for the British music publishing world. Despite his court victory over the star-making Mills, however, O'Sullivan failed, subsequently, to re-establish his career.

Albums: Himself (1971), Back To Front (1972), I'm A Writer Not A Fighter (1973), Stranger In My Own Backyard (1974), Southpaw (1977), Off Centre (1980), Life And Rhymes (1982), Frobisher Drive (1988), In the Key of G (1989), Live in Japan (1993), By Larry (1994), Every Song Has It's Play (1995), Singer Sawing Machine (1997).

Compilations: Greatest Hits (1976), 20 Golden Greats (1981), 20 Of The Very Best (1981), 20 Golden Pieces Of Gilbert O'Sullivan (1985), 16 Golden Classics (1986).

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