sun 03/07/2022

Gilbert O’Sullivan: Out on His Own, BBC Four | reviews, news & interviews

Gilbert O’Sullivan: Out on His Own, BBC Four

Gilbert O’Sullivan: Out on His Own, BBC Four

The 1970s pop star gives more away than he intended in this documentary

Maybe the young Tom Waits got one or two sartorial ideas from our Gilbert?

While obviously not as seismic a Top of the Pops moment as Ziggy singing “Starman”, the almost contemporaneous appearance of the flat-capped Gilbert O’Sullivan hunched over his piano as if it were a dying coal fire certainly stuck in my memory as clearly as Bowie’s androgynous space-age carrot-top. Although the flat cap was quickly ditched in favour of casual knitwear and even a hairy chest phase (see pic below), today’s 64-year-old Mr O’Sullivan feels that his fate in the shape of his image was sealed all those decades ago, and he’s been fighting ever since to transcend it.

While obviously not as seismic a Top of the Pops moment as Ziggy singing “Starman”, the almost contemporaneous appearance of the flat-capped Gilbert O’Sullivan hunched over his piano as if it were a dying coal fire certainly stuck in my memory as clearly as Bowie’s androgynous space-age carrot-top. Although the flat cap was quickly ditched in favour of casual knitwear and even a hairy chest phase (see pic below), today’s 64-year-old Mr O’Sullivan feels that his fate in the shape of his image was sealed all those decades ago, and he’s been fighting ever since to transcend it.

Comments

Watched "Out On His Own" and thoroughly enjoyed it. I felt that Gilbert O'Sullivan came across as a decent, straight-forward chap who tells it like it is and is not afraid to air his views and stand up for himself. He obviously loves music and is dedicated to writing songs and is also a perfectionist whether it's getting the sound absolutely spot on for his concert audience or in the studio recording. (He was upset when he felt the sound wasn't quite right after one of his concerts in Israel.) It does seem with hindsight that his career has suffered since the protracted law suit with his former manager and having no-one to manage him since then. I do tend to agree with most of Howard's review but have to disagree about his view of Gilbert's song about 9/11 "All They Wanted To Say". I think that having such poignant, moving lyrics with the almost jaunty melody far from "jarring" and instead gives the song a balance that makes the song a beautiful bitter-sweet lament and allows the lyrics to become even more moving. What is strange is that BBC Radio 2 wouldn't play the song when it was released earlier this year, wonder why? As Gilbert says "he's scratching at the door" for more success, let's hope he gets it, for a songwriter so dedicated to his craft he deserves it! Plus it's always nice to see the good guy do well for a change!!

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