It was back in December 1946 that this Irishman was born. Move forward to 1967 and Gilbert’s passion for music was not being reflected in any chart success. But luckily he met up with Engelbert Humperdinck’s manager who really liked his talent.
It was Gilbert
himself who dressed up in
the Northern cap and shorts which did not go down that well with his new manager
Gordon Mills. As a form of compromise Gilbert slightly changed it to the
college boy look, and things took off big time.
1970 Gilbert scored a massive top ten hit across the world with Nothing Rhymed and was released on the MAM label. The record seems to be about nothing really making sense in the world.
“This feeling inside me could never deny me
The right to be wrong if I choose
And this pleasure I get
From say winning a bet
Is to lose”
Whatever it was really about there is no doubt everybody was wanting more from this writer singer with the perfect diction. The 1970 follow up was not a big hit in the UK called Underneath The Blanket Go, but it did get to No. 1 in the Netherlands. But he did have a top forty hit the same year with We Will. The song got to No. 16 and was a similar song to Nothing Rhymed and did not disappoint his fans.
1971 also saw the top ten hit No Matter How I Try. But despite hits all over the world Gilbert had not broken into the American market. Until the next single.
1972 Gilbert released Alone Again (Naturally) which gave him a U.S. No. 1. The song was talking about suicide, being left at the alter and the death of parents. The song therefore hit a nerve with just about everyone, so everyone could relate to it.
The song was so huge in America that
three Grammy nominations and it was the N0. 2 bestselling single of that year.
But the follow up Ooh –Wakka-Doo-Wakka- Day which was a top ten single. But the
song did nothing in the U.S., perhaps which was down to the title?
Later that year Gilbert managed to get the USA back on board with another U.S. No. 1 with Claire. There is an uncle Ray mentioned in the song, and that person is Gilbert himself as his real name is Raymond O’Sullivan. It was all about the fondness Gilbert felt for his manager’s daughter Clair.
The relationship between Gilbert and his manager Gordon Mills went very bad years later, when Gilbert won court cases against Gordon on restrictive practices. This gave Gilbert control of his back catalogue and monies owed. Gordon went bankrupt, his wife left him and he died in 1986.
But back in 1972 everything was roses for the team. In March 1973 he had another top ten transatlantic hit with Get Down. The very catchy song is all about Gilbert training and controlling his dog. Get Down was therefore an instruction that became a huge hit.
The hits just continued throughout the 1970s. These were just some of his top forty UK singles that followed;-
Why Oh Why
Happiness Is Me And You
I Don’t Love You But I Think I Like You
Gilbert also provided the grateful public with five top ten albums in the 1970s, including his greatest hits in 1976. Gilbert married in 1980.