alone again naturally

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:




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:




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>
And lastly … a semi silly song with an amazing bridge.


Get Down:

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Written by Bruce