Enlightened Conflict

alone again naturally

July 23rd, 2014

alone bus drop off



“Clair, the moment I met you, I swear, I felt as if something, somewhere, had happened to me, which I couldn’t see, but then, the moment I met you again, I knew in my heart that we were friends.”

Gilbert O’Sullivan <Clair>




So it was this week many many years ago that a musician named Gilbert O’Sullivan had his only number one hit in the good ole USofA.



The song was Alone Again Naturally.



It sold 2 million copies, spent 6 weeks at #1 and earned him 3 Grammy Award gilbert osullivannominations <Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year>.



On a historical note … interestingly … it was the second best-selling single of the year in America behind Don McLean’s ‘American Pie.’



Alone Again Naturally is a pretty spectacular song.



I , personally, have always felt that he lifted a nice, but sad, song about being alone again … simply by building in ‘naturally.’



I could be full of a bunch of bullhockey but it created a sense of inevitableness with regard to being alone … the fact that of course it is natural it would occur.


gilbert alone

It has an overall sense of … well … lack of surprise with regard to ‘alone’ and an honesty that probably made it quite relatable to many many people.



Without working really hard … O’Sullivan makes the sadness seem natural and yet insightful.



In addition … while the song sounds relatively simple I think it has some relatively complex chord progressions.



And maybe the real beauty in the sound is that the initial chords are simple … and it becomes more complex as the song progresses.
Despite some of the odder chord progressions the song doesn’t sound discordant.


In addition at about the 1:40 mark he builds in a completely different sounding bridge and segment which is soulful and introspective in its simpleness.


A fantastic bit of composition.


Alone Again Naturally: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_P-v1BVQn8




About Gilbert:


In the first half of the ’70s O’Sullivan enjoyed a succession of hits in the UK including 2 #1s. They were “Clair,” which was inspired by the daughter of his manager Gordon Mills, 3-year-old Clair Mills, whom O’Sullivan baby-sat. The other one was “Get Down,” which was a plea to his dog to get down off the furniture.

He was the first Irish recording artist to have 2 UK #1 hits.


Gilbert O’Sullivan says:


“‘Alone Again (Naturally)’ has no comic purpose at all, and it is not a song that people can dismiss like ‘Get Down’ or ‘Clair.’ Because it means so much to some people, I will not allow it to be used for karaoke or commercials.”





This song was covered by Vonda Shepard on the television series ‘Ally McBeal’ in the early 2000’s. Her version is very soulful.


vonda shephard-GC
Vonda Shepard Alone Again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74JNJ86M4vw




And just in case you have no clue who Gilbert O’Sullivan is … here are the two other song you wish you had heard:

<first one uses wonderful rhymes lyrically by using the name Clair>
Clair: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAKInjg66fY
And lastly … a semi silly song with an amazing bridge.


Get Down: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32QBDDSmyfM

life, love, alone and togetherness

February 14th, 2011

“One day you will ask me what I love more, you or my life, and when I say my life you will walk away from me without knowing that you are my life.”


Ah. Valentine’s Day.

One of my favorite days of the year (yeah … I am a diehard romantic).

It may seem like a constructed event and day, but who cares.

First. It has a significant role in that it helps the general male population not be asses all the time. Using some advertising industry lingo I think of Valentine’s Day as sort of an “aided awareness” event for guys.

Most guys stumble around through life and relationships kinda thinking they need to do something for a ‘loved one’ but unless tripped by their significant other never really do anything.  And then Valentine’s Day comes along and it is ‘game on.’

That is aided awareness at its best.

Second. Valentine’s Day should remind you of the awesomeness of togetherness.


I have spent the day together, alone and semi-together (think long distance apart).

But the day itself also serves as a reminder to us (well … at least this one lifelong bachelor) about some things.  Love.  Companionship. And being alone versus loneliness.

I know I don’t think much about loneliness despite often being alone. And valentine’s day doesn’t really make me feel lonely because I have been so fortunate in my life with regard to the women in my life I tend to take the day, if I am not ‘together’ with someone, to think back on the times I was together with someone and how great it was (and how great they were).

But it does make me think about life and being alone.

Oddly loneliness and being alone really only seem to intersect in life through success.  Yeah.  Success.

Cause when success in life does come along and you don’t have someone to share it with … well … it seems to mean a lot less. Okay.  Sometimes almost nothing in the scheme of things (I know … that is harsh & extreme but it seems to capture the essence & truth of the thought).

I have a good life and a fairly successful career.  Certainly had my share of great life and career moments.  So I feel qualified in judging this thought I am sharing.

I do know that I can describe some of the big moments in my career and still have difficulty describing the heights of emotion one feels. Your heart almost explodes. It’s like how you hold your breath watching that USA gymnast in the Olympics for their entire routine and when they stick the ending flawlessly you want to shout and jump and down for them.  Only it’s exponentially bigger because it is you.  It’s personal.


Maybe 4 minutes later (absolutely less than 5 minutes) there is a slightly unsettling silence that overcomes you.

Yes. In less than 250 seconds you can suddenly go from feeling the extremest high of highs to facing the harsh realization that there is no one to share it with. And that isn’t a low … it is just an emptiness.  An empty space.

Oh sure, there are family and friends.

But it’s not the same.

Because success isn’t really about congratulations or having a cheering section because that stuff I can do all by my lonesome.

In the end the victory is slightly hollow because there is nothing … absolutely nothing … better than being able to share the moment with someone who means the world to you. And without someone, well, I guess it just potentially trickles into nothingness.

Look. There are no excuses on this one.

It is easy to suggest work gets in the way of togetherness as workdays often turn into work nights and working weekends and your social life soon becomes something on your work list that you never seem to get done.

But it isn’t just work.  Its life.  I saw a friend yesterday and he said “I just didn’t have time.”  I suggested it was actually “when I had the time it just wasn’t the right time to do that.’

We sometimes become a slave to life and all the things we need to do. So when you actually do have time … whatever else you have to do (or want to do) comes down to timing (i.e., what do I feel like doing at that time). And some really good things just get passed over not because you didn’t have time but rather because it just wasn’t what you were inspired to do within that free time.

Ok.  Back to alone and togetherness.

I choose how I live my life so I am not complaining in this post.

And I am not one of those people who say there is no time or the energy to invest into a relationship.

Because bottom line it’s really not about wanting something (or wanting it bad enough) because if that right person shows up … you make time.

Chicken or egg I am not sure but it is what it is. All I really know is that it is amazing how time expands when you find that someone you want to be together with. There is no such thing as ‘not enough time.’

Here is the harsh truth.

“I’m too busy” people are one of two things – either selfish (putting everything in their own life ahead of any other person) or uninspired (no one has sparked the time expansion life postulate to make it happen).


It took me awhile to figure that last sentence out by the way.

And I think that is what love is kinda all about.

I am pretty sure life is not about people finding balance between life, career and love. Why? Because I tend to believe true love forces balance. True love creates balance in your life. You don’t “make time” for true love. Time is always there for that kind of love.

So I guess the point of all this is that it is days like Valentine’s Day that remind me that being together is awesome.

And if you have that special someone and it takes Valentine’s Day to make you step up to the plate to tell them how special they are  … then, well, step up and do it.


And while you do that … maybe take a second and think about those little success moments you have had in life and how awesome it was that in that moment you had someone to share it with.  Cause in the end those are truly the “valentine’s day” days. They just don’t have the chocolate and the roses and stuff.


To all my past valentine’s … thanks, you were always there “… to double the joys and halve the griefs.”

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Enlightened Conflict