Singer Gilbert Slams Irish For Failing To Make Him As Famous As Westlife

Source: The Sunday People

Writer: Stephen Maguire

Date: 04th April 2004

Singing legend Gilbert O'Sullivan has launched a savage attack on his Irish fans.  The millionaire Waterford-born star claims he was stabbed in the back by music-lovers here when he didn't top the charts.

The 57-year-old eccentric entertainer was a huge star thanks to worldwide hits like "Nothing Rhymed."  But now he claims he was betrayed by the people of Ireland who jumped on his bandwagon - and then jumped off again.

"The problem with me is that all the success I had came from England, and then the Irish embraced me as one of theirs.  But as soon as I wasn't successful in England, the Irish dropped me like a stone", he fumed.

Indeed the last time he played his native Waterford only 1,000 fans turned up - leaving the venue half empty.  he vowed never to play the city again insisting: "It soured me."

O'Sullivan, who now lives in Jersey, revealed that he only sells a handful of records here now.  "I sell less records here than I do in Mozambique, and I don't sell many there.

"I've seen the figures, I don't lose any sleep over it, but it's a battle I have," he admits.  And these days he says he doesn't even see himself as Irish first, but English.  "I am an English writer, although I am Irish by birth and very proud of it."

Born Raymond O'Sullivan, he was the second eldest of six children who spent the first seven years of his life living on Waterford's Cork Road.  He then moved to England when his father, a butcher with Clover Meats, got work in an abattoir in Swindon.

The young Raymond found music early in life and with his trademark pudding bowl haircut and funny clothes began to top the charts.  In 1970 he hit gold on both sides of the Atlantic with "Nothing Rhymed."  Despite releasing a number of albums he hasn't had a hit single in recent years.

And he admits that he now sits behind a piano nine months of the year from nine until five trying to pen a chart-topping tune.  " I desperately want what the Westlifes of this world want.  I want that success", he says.

O'Sullivan says he is deadly serious about his music.  he once sued his former manager producer Gordon Mills successfully and received 4 million.  O'Sullivan had claimed that Mills had dishonoured a publishing agreement.

At the time he was living as a recluse in a period house in Bunclody, Co Wexford.  The father of two daughters from his marriage to Norwegian Ase, he admits that he is obsessed with the way he looks.  He even carries his own mirror with him.

"I don't go into make-up rooms, I hate mirrors because you see the real you.  Very often in mirrors you don't see yourself properly.  If you have light coming down it can make you look baggy under your eyes.  I think there is an element of you that is not impressed by the way you are.  I think you feel inadequate, although my wife will tell me I'm fine", he said.