Singer/songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan successfully
combined a flair for Beatlesque popcraft with an
old-fashioned music hall sensibility to emerge as
one of the most distinctive and popular new
performers of the early 1970s. Born Raymond
O'Sullivan in Waterford, Ireland he went on to
attend art school in Swindon, England, writing
songs throughout his formative years and sending
out demo tapes to little avail. After graduating he
went to work in a London department store; one
of his co-workers there was under contract with
CBS, and soon O'Sullivan was signed to the label
as well. The wit and craft of O'Sullivan's music
aside, much of his early success was predicated
on his unusual image - at the peak of the hippie
movement, he resembled nothing so much as a
Depression-era street urchin, complete with
pudding-bowl haircut, short pants, and flat cap.
As quickly as O'Sullivan ascended to fame,
however, his star began to fall. Although singles
like "Ooh Baby" and "Happiness Is Me and You"
continued to chart, they sold increasingly fewer
copies, and after 1973, his overseas popularity
essentially ceased altogether.