Words And Music By Gilbert O'Sullivan

Source: Daily Mirror

Writer: Don Short

Date: 09 Oct 1970

He looks to say the least, unusual.  But then Gilbert O'Sullivan is a highly unusual feller.

He writes music that's a bit like Paul McCartney; he sings in a voice that's a cross between Jose Feliciano and George Formby: and he dresses like Charlie Chaplin.

Gilbert has just arrived on the pop scene - and in no small way either, for he was discovered by starmaker Gordon Mills, the man behind Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck.

But Gilbert used to live in his own twilight world of old out-of-tune piano littered with grubby notes and manuscripts, posters clinging to the walls and piles of old records stacked in corners.


Those who saw him in his 8 a week Baywater bedsitter dismissed him as...well...just a crank.

But was Gilbert a crank or was he an eccentric musical genius?  That was what Mills wanted to find out.

Gilbert, struggling for four years to become a singer, had sent a batch of warped old records he had made to Mr. Mills to "see what he thought about them."

And now the twilight world of Gilbert is over.  He's in a 10,000 cottage in the Surrey countryside.  One of the rooms has been transformed into a replica of his old bedsitter - so he won't lose any inspiration.

For the shrewd-thinking Mr. Mills had reached a verdict about Gilbert: a new show business phenomenom.

"The music has the magic of a McCartney" says Mills "and Gilbert's voice has as much character as Gilbert himself."

Mills is right but there is also a likeness to Tiny Tim.  "Gilbert is a bit of a nut" says Gilbert himself.  "I want people to laugh at him."


When on stage, Gilbert does a take off of Liberace.  he places a brass oil lamp on his tumbledown piano and hangs his jacket on a coat stand by his stool.

's quiet, pallid and anaemic-looking; his hair is shorn army-style.  Girls make him blush with shyness.

Gilbert, pop man extraordinary, was born Raymond O'Sullivan in Waterford, Ireland, twenty-four years ago.  he changed his name to Gilbert...begging operatic licence from Gilbert and Sullivan.

So enter bizarre Gilbert.  he's recorded two haunting songs: "Doing The Best I Can" and "Nothing Rhymed."

Nothing does rhyme about Gilbert...except the sound he makes.