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Gilbert O’Sullivan

Not all the giant superstars of the 1970s were millionaires.

One notable case was Raymond O’ Sullivan, an Irishman in a cloth cap (born in Waterford on 1 December 1946) who took his stage name from the famous W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan.


But ‘W.S. Arthur’ was not to enjoy any major success, and so he changed his name to Gilbert O’Sullivan.

This proved to be the key to success but he was to see almost no money until he sued his manager some 10 years later.

Gilbert O’ Sullivan’s first hit came in 1971 with Nothing Rhymed.

He introduced himself to the world wearing an over-sized school uniform – a gimmick which detracted from his considerable songwriting talent.

In 1972, his Alone Again (Naturally) topped the US charts for six weeks – his biggest international hit.

As part of his approach to the US he ditched the school uniform in favour of a preppy sweater and college scarf. “The boy is growing up,” he told journalists at the time.


The single was quickly followed by the US Top 10 album Gilbert O’ Sullivan – Himself, and O’ Sullivan was firmly established as an international artist, selling records all over the world for the next five years.

O’Sullivan clocked up no fewer than fourteen Top 40 hits throughout the 70’s – with memorable highlights including ClairWhy oh Why oh WhyGet DownOoh Baby and I Don’t Love You But I Think I Like You – but was largely AWOL during the 1980s due to wretched contractual wrangles.

His 90’s return was marked by success in Japan and a rising impatience with those who don’t take him seriously.