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Gilbert O’Sullivan (born Raymond Edward O’Sullivan, 1 December 1946) is an Irish singer-songwriter, best known for his early 1970s hits “Alone Again (Naturally)”, “Clair”, and “Get Down”. The music magazine Record Mirror voted him the top UK male singer of 1972.
Worldwide he has charted 16 top-40 records, including six #1 songs, the first of which was 1970’s “Nothing Rhymed” (for further information see Gilbert O’Sullivan discography). Such was his popularity in the early 1970s that “Matrimony”, an airplay and live favourite from his debut album Himself, remains one of his most famous compositions despite never having been a hit single (except in the Netherlands where it reached #4).
His most successful recording period was between 1970 and 1980, though he has since recorded ten studio albums up to 2015. Speaking in 2009 he said, “I write pop songs. End of story. That’s all I wanted to do. That’s all I want to do. And that’s all I continue to want to do. I have no interest in just touring, and living in the past.”
He was born Raymond Edward O’Sullivan in Cork Road, Waterford, Ireland. In 1953, when he was seven, his family moved to Battersea, London; at eight they moved to Swindon, Wiltshire, England. He attended St Joseph’s and the Swindon College of Art, where he briefly played drums in a band called Rick’s Blues, founded by Rick Davies (who later founded Supertramp) and where he developed his lifelong interests in music and art. According to a 1972 interview with O’Sullivan, Davies taught him how to play both drums and piano. Other semi-professional bands he played with while at college include The Doodles and The Prefects. alone again naturally karaoke instrumental
In 1967, O’Sullivan was signed to a five-year contract with April Music, CBS Records’ house publishing company, after coming to the attention of the Professional Manager Stephen Shane, who also suggested changing his name from Ray to Gilbert as a play on the name of the operetta composers Gilbert & Sullivan. His songs at the time were avant-garde, and even drew the interest of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band (Viv Stanshall), who were interested in recording a couple of the songs. He was paid an advance of £12 (equivalent to £200 in 2015)[with which he bought a piano. He was signed to CBS Records by the A&R manager Mike Smith (the Tremeloes and the Love Affair). .
After two unsuccessful singles with CBS, “Disappear” and “What Can I Do?”, and one with the Irish record label Major Minor, “Mr. Moody’s Garden”, all released under the name “Gilbert”, O’Sullivan sent some demo tapes to Gordon Mills, the manager of Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck, whereupon O’Sullivan was signed to Mills’ label, MAM Records. O’Sullivan’s self-created eye-catching visual image comprised a pudding basin haircut, cloth cap and short trousers. Mills reportedly hated the image, but O’Sullivan insisted on using it initially, until he assumed a more modern ‘college-like’ look in which he often wore a sweater bearing a large letter ‘G’.
At the end of 1970, O’Sullivan achieved his first UK Top 10 hit with “Nothing Rhymed”,which also reached No. 1 in the Netherlands. “Nothing Rhymed” in The Netherlands earned O’Sullivan his first gold disc.Subsequent hits followed including “Underneath The Blanket Go” (which also reached No. 1 in the Netherlands), “We Will” and “No Matter How I Try”. O’Sullivan released his debut album, Himself, in 1971.alone again naturally karaoke instrumental
In 1972 O’Sullivan reached international stardom with “Alone Again (Naturally)”, which reached No. 3 in UK; No. 1 in the US, spending six non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and selling nearly two million copies; No. 2 in New Zealand (11 weeks on the charts in total); No. 1 in Canada for 2 weeks (13 weeks in the Top 40)] and No. 1 in Japan (21 weeks on the chart). The guitar solo was played by Big Jim Sullivan.
O’Sullivan’s hit was barely edged out for No. 1 for the whole of 1972 by Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, with Looking Glass’ “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)”, interrupting O’Sullivan’s place at the top in the week ending 26 August 1972, making the difference. Flack’s and O’Sullivan’s hits were on the Hot 100’s top 40 at the same time only on 1 July 1972, with Flack at No. 36 and falling and O’Sullivan at No. 34 and climbing. O’Sullivan’s effort was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Song of the Year and Record of the Year categories in 1973, but Flack’s tune won both, and Flack would turn the double-trick again, in 1974 with “Killing Me Softly with His Song”. alone again naturally karaoke instrumental
O’Sullivan followed “Alone” with “Clair” (1972, from the album Back to Front). The single reached No. 2 in the United States on the Hot 100 and No. 1 in the UK and Canada (14 weeks in the Canadian Top 40). O’Sullivan’s disc sales exceeded ten million in 1972 and made him the top star of the year.O’Sullivan’s success led to him taking part in the BBC’s anniversary programme Fifty Years of Music in November 1972.
“Out of the Question” (also from Back to Front), reached No. 17 in the US and No. 14 in Canada. “Get Down” (1973), from the album I’m A Writer Not A Fighter, reached No. 1 in the UK and in Germany, No. 7 in both the US and Canada, and No. 3 in The Netherlands. Following “Alone Again (Naturally)” and “Clair”, “Get Down” was his third million-seller, with the RIAA gold disc award presented on 18 September 1973.
O’Sullivan enjoyed nearly five years of success with MAM, a run that included seven UK Top 10 singles and four UK Top 10 albums; three US Top 10 singles and one top 10 album; five Dutch Top 10 singles and three Top 10 albums; five New Zealand Top 10 singles; three Canadian Top 10 singles; and seven Japan Top 10 singles.
“Ooh Baby” and “Happiness Is Me and You” charted, but O’Sullivan’s sales were decreasing. In June 1975 he had his last Top 20 hit, “I Don’t Love You But I Think I Like You”.
Things turned more sour when he discovered his recording contract with MAM Records greatly favoured the label’s owner, Gordon Mills. A lawsuit followed, with prolonged argument over how much money his songs had earned and how much of that money he had actually received. Eventually, in May 1982, the court found in O’Sullivan’s favour, describing him as a “patently honest and decent man”, who had not received a just proportion of the vast income his songs had generated. They awarded him £7 million in damages (worth £20 million at 2011 prices). He had won, but the court battle had put his recording career on hold.
In 1980, after a five-year hiatus, he returned to his old record label, CBS.
The first single, “What’s in a Kiss?”, reached No. 19 in the UK in 1980 and No. 21 in Japan. It was his first UK Top 20 hit in five years. Following this release, and due in part to the then-ongoing MAM court case, O’Sullivan released no new material between 1983 and 1986. Apart from the single “So What ?” in 1990 and a compilation album in 1991 Nothing But The Best, O’Sullivan was absent from the charts until another compilation album, The Berry Vest of Gilbert O’Sullivan, returned him to the UK Top 20 in 2004.alone again naturally karaoke instrumental
O’Sullivan is also noted for his role in bringing about the practice of clearing samples in hip hop music as a result of the 1991 court case, Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records, Inc., in which he sued rapper Biz Markie over the rights to use a sample of his song “Alone Again (Naturally)”.
O’Sullivan has continued to record and perform into the 21st century. He enjoys particular acclaim in Japan. His album A Scruff at Heart was released in 2007, featuring “Just So You Know”. On 14 July 2008, O’Sullivan released “Never Say Di”. He appeared at the 2008 Glastonbury Festival, and played London’s Royal Albert Hall on 26 October 2009. On 26 August 2010, O’Sullivan announced that he had joined Hypertension, a record company whose artists have included Leo Sayer, Chris DeBurgh, Fleetwood Mac and Gerry Rafferty.
His album Gilbertville was released on 31 January 2011; it featured “All They Wanted To Say”, which dealt with the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre, and his single “Where Would We Be (Without Tea)?”. On 19 July 2011, O’Sullivan played live on the BBC Radio 2 Ken Bruce Show. On 26 August that year, the documentary Out on His Own was broadcast by BBC 4 (before by Irish RTÉ). In March 2012, the compilation album Gilbert O’Sullivan : The Very Best Of – A Singer & His Songs entered the UK Albums Chart at No.12. 2015 saw Gilbert re-emerge on Irish and BBC radio and television. He toured Ireland beginning of June, and on 8 June 2015 his Peggy Lee-inspired new album Latin ala G! was released, and received with great respect.
Pop music is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form in the Western world during the 1950s, stemming from rock and roll. as a softer alternative to rock and roll. The terms “popular music” and “pop music” are often used interchangeably, although the former describes all music that is popular (and can include any style).
Although pop music is seen as just the singles charts, it is not the sum of all chart music. Pop music is eclectic, and often borrows elements from other styles such as urban, dance, rock, Latin, and country; nonetheless, there are core elements that define pop music. Identifying factors include generally short to medium-length songs written in a basic format (often the verse-chorus structure) as well as the common employment of repeated choruses, melodic tunes, and hooks.alone again naturally karaoke instrumental
David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop music as “a body of music which is distinguishable from popular, jazz, and folk musics”. According to Pete Seeger, pop music is “professional music which draws upon both folk music and fine arts music”. Although pop music is seen as just the singles charts, it is not the sum of all chart music. The music charts contain songs from a variety of sources, including classical, jazz, rock, and novelty songs. Pop music, as a genre, is seen as existing and developing separately. Thus “pop music” may be used to describe a distinct genre, aimed at a youth market, often characterized as a softer alternative to rock and roll.Musicologist Allan Moore surmises that the term “pop music” itself may have originated from Pop art.Additionally, it’s important to note that pop music is always evolving, which means that the definition of pop music can change, too. It’s also important to be cognizant of the distinction between pop music and popular music. According to The New Grove Dictionary Of Music and Musicians, popular music is defined as “the music since industrialization in the 1800’s that is most in line with the tastes and interests of the urban middle class.”
The Oxford Dictionary of Music states that the term “pop” refers to music performed by such artists as the Rolling Stones (pictured here in a 2006 performance) alone again naturally karaoke instrumental
The term “pop song” was first recorded as being used in 1926, in the sense of a piece of music “having popular appeal”. However,[editorializing] the term was in mainstream use[not in citation given] at least ten years earlier. Hatch and Millward indicate that many events in the history of recording in the 1920s can be seen as the birth of the modern pop music industry, including in country, blues and hillbilly music.
According to the website of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, called Grove Music Online, the term “pop music” “originated in Britain in the mid-1950s as a description for rock and roll and the new youth music styles that it influenced”. The Oxford Dictionary of Music states that while pop’s “earlier meaning meant concerts appealing to a wide audience … since the late 1950s, however, pop has had the special meaning of non-classical mus[ic], usually in the form of songs, performed by such artists as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, ABBA, etc”. Grove Music Online also states that “… in the early 1960s [the term] ‘pop music’ competed terminologically with beat music [in England], while in the USA its coverage overlapped (as it still does) with that of ‘rock and roll'”.
From about 1967, the term was increasingly used in opposition to the term rock music, a division that gave generic significance to both terms. Whereas rock aspired to authenticity and an expansion of the possibilities of popular music, pop was more commercial, ephemeral and accessible. According to British musicologist Simon Frith, pop music is produced “as a matter of enterprise not art”, is “designed to appeal to everyone” and “doesn’t come from any particular place or mark off any particular taste”. It is “not driven by any significant ambition except profit and commercial reward … and, in musical terms, it is essentially conservative”. It is, “provided from on high (by record companies, radio programmers and concert promoters) rather than being made from below … Pop is not a do-it-yourself music but is professionally produced and packaged”.
The Righteous Brothers – “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (1965)
As of 2011, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” ranks as the most frequently played song in US radio history,described by music writers Nick Logan and Bob Woffinden as “the ultimate pop record”.
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According to Frith, characteristics of pop music include an aim of appealing to a general audience, rather than to a particular sub-culture or ideology, and an emphasis on craftsmanship rather than formal “artistic” qualities.Music scholar Timothy Warner said it typically has an emphasis on recording, production, and technology, rather than live performance; a tendency to reflect existing trends rather than progressive developments; and aims to encourage dancing or uses dance-oriented rhythms.alone again naturally karaoke instrumental
The main medium of pop music is the song, often between two and a half and three and a half minutes in length, generally marked by a consistent and noticeable rhythmic element, a mainstream style and a simple traditional structure. Common variants include the verse-chorus form and the thirty-two-bar form, with a focus on melodies and catchy hooks, and a chorus that contrasts melodically, rhythmically and harmonically with the verse. The beat and the melodies tend to be simple, with limited harmonic accompaniment.The lyrics of modern pop songs typically focus on simple themes – often love and romantic relationships – although there are notable exceptions.
Harmony and chord progressions in pop music are often “that of classical European tonality, only more simple-minded.” Clichés include the barbershop quartet-style harmony (i.e. ii – V – I) and blues scale-influenced harmony. There was a lessening of the influence of traditional views of the circle of fifths between the mid-1950s and the late 1970s, including less predominance for the dominant function.
Throughout its development, pop music has absorbed influences from most other genres of popular music. Early pop music drew on the sentimental ballad for its form, gained its use of vocal harmonies from gospel and soul music, instrumentation from jazz, country, and rock music, orchestration from classical music, tempo from dance music, backing from electronic music, rhythmic elements from hip-hop music, and has recently[when?] appropriated spoken passages from rap.According to Robert Christgau in 2014, pop music worldwide is permeated by electronic dance music.
A Scientific Reports study that examined over 464,000 recordings of popular music recorded between 1955 and 2010 found less variety in pitch progressions, growing average loudness levels,less diverse instrumentation and recording techniques, and less timbral variety, which declined after reaching a peak in the 1960s. Scientific American’s John Matson reported that this “seems to support the popular anecdotal observation that pop music of yore was better, or at least more varied, than today’s top-40 stuff.”
Left, Michael Jackson in 1984; right, Madonna in 2008 alone again naturally karaoke instrumental
In the 1940s improved microphone design allowed a more intimate singing style and ten or twenty years later inexpensive and more durable 45 r.p.m. records for singles “revolutionized the manner in which pop has been disseminated” and helped to move pop music to ‘a record/radio/film star system’.Another technological change was the widespread availability of television in the 1950s; with televised performances, “pop stars had to have a visual presence”. In the 1960s, the introduction of inexpensive, portable transistor radios meant that teenagers could listen to music outside of the home. Multi-track recording (from the 1960s); and digital sampling (from the 1980s) have also been utilized as methods for the creation and elaboration of pop music. By the early 1980s, the promotion of pop music had been greatly affected by the rise of music television channels like MTV, which “favoured those artists such as Michael Jackson and Madonna who had a strong visual appeal”.
According to PopMatters, when Madonna performed in a wedding dress at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards, she created a “new wave of American pop music” that inspired women to enter the space of mainstream music. In the early 00’s, women such as Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Shakira, and Christina Aguilera began to mark their legacies into the genre. This was monumental, considering the fact that this was a genre that was essentially male-dominated since its creation. Pop music was built on artists such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys; creating a space where women were seemingly kept out of. When Madonna went on stage in a wedding dress as an unmarried woman, Madonna demonstrated to the world that women do not need a man to be successful; that, independently, women can do anything. Madonna’s profound performance was compounded by her singing the song “Like a Virgin”, demonstrating Madonna’s feminist criticism on the notion of purity and innocence. At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, artists like Rhianna and Kesha surfaced, creating a legacy that women would continually strive in.
Pop music has been dominated by the American and (from the mid-1960s) British music industries, whose influence has made pop music something of an international monoculture, but most regions and countries have their own form of pop music, sometimes producing local versions of wider trends, and lending them local characteristics. Some of these trends (for example Europop) have had a significant impact of the development of the genre.
According to Grove Music Online, “Western-derived pop styles, whether coexisting with or marginalizing distinctively local genres, have spread throughout the world and have come to constitute stylistic common denominators in global commercial music cultures”. Some non-Western countries, such as Japan, have developed a thriving pop music industry, most of which is devoted to Western-style pop, has for several years produced a greater quantity of music of everywhere except the USA. The spread of Western-style pop music has been interpreted variously as representing processes of Americanization, homogenization, modernization, creative appropriation, cultural imperialism, and/or a more general process of globalization.