The Best of Radar:
The Podcast with
Evan Toth, Episode 65: Gilbert O’Sullivan

People don’t want to be songwriters so much anymore. Sure, maybe they want to write songs, but today it’s a part of some other greater, grander plan: maybe super stardom in one way or another; songwriting in the 21st century is often a means to an end.

But there was a time when a musical person recognized that they didn’t want to be the one surrounded in the stage’s spotlight, but did want to find the chops to write a song from scratch armed only with their voice, a piano, and maybe a cold cup of coffee. Things aren’t really that way anymore, and no one is really to blame, but there was a time, and I know just the person who can tell you about it.

Gilbert O’Sullivan wrote one of the most intriguing pop hits of all time, “Alone, Again (Naturally).” The song catches attention with its ear pleasing melody, but upon further listening, the fascinating dichotomy of the tune reveals itself and makes it evident to the listener that they are hearing the work of a master songwriter. The song has been covered by other artists countless times, but it’s Gilbert’s original that displays the full range of his skills and best encapsulates the composition.

That song may have been released in 1972, but Gilbert has been hard at work since then, writing songs in his home off the coast of the UK in Jersey. Not the Garden State, but just Jersey (or, old Jersey). He joins me on this episode to discuss two bits of exciting news: the first is that the states can expect a tour from him for the first time in 50 years, and the second is that he’ll release a new album of his latest compositions in the next year.

So, join us—just two Jersey boys—though we’re 3,500 miles apart. Gilbert and I discuss his career, his musical process, and what he does to keep things fresh for himself whenever he steps behind a piano to write a song. He’s written so many good ones, but he’s still got more to go. Naturally.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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