Clair Gilbert O’Sullivan



” Clair ” is by Gilbert O’Sullivan ( Raymond Edward O’Sullivan ), the Irish singer-songwriter. His stage name, Gilbert, was a play on the name of operetta composers Gilbert & Sullivan, the Victorian-era theatrical partnership who worked on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896.
Their most famous works include ” H.M.S. Pinafore “, ” The Pirates of Penzance ” and ” The Mikado “.
Early in his career, Gilbert was recognisable for his distinct image of a pudding basin haircut, cloth cap and short trousers. He later changed his perception to that of a ‘ college-like ‘ look which consisted of a sweater with a large letter ‘ G ‘ on the front.
The song was written by Gilbert O’Sullivan with production for the single by Gordon Mills. Gordon was a top music industry manager and songwriter. He managed the careers of singers Engelbert Humperdinck and Tom Jones. His songwriting credits include co-writing ( with Les Reed ) ” It’s Not Unusual “, a UK Number One in 1965 for Tom Jones.
” Clair ” was released in October 1972 by record label MAM ( founded by Gordon Mills and Tom Jones ), the label was later sold to Chrysalis Records in the 80s and 1991 acquired by EMI.
The single was taken from Gilbert’s second studio album, Back to Front. The album, released in 1972 reached Number One on the UK Albums Chart, a position it held for one week. Back to Front spent one week at the top and a total of sixty-four weeks on the chart there.
Lyrically the song is the love song of a close family friend who babysits a young girl. The girl in question ( Clair ) was the three-year-old daughter of Gordon Mills and his wife, Jo Waring.
The little girl’s giggling can be heard at the end of the song. The reference to ” Uncle Ray ” in the lyrics is Gilbert himself, his real name of Raymond O’Sullivan.
” Clair ” was a commercial success for Gilbert. In the United States, the song reached a peak of number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972 and spent sixteen weeks on the chart there. It also reached Number One on the Billboard Easy Listening and three on the Cash Box Top 100 charts.
In the United Kingdom, the song entered the UK Singles Chart on the 21st of October 1972 and reached Number One, staying at the top for two weeks. It spent six weeks in the Top Ten and a total of fourteen weeks on the UK chart.

BillBoard Hot 100 Highest Chart Position: 2

UK Highest Chart Position: 1

Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Australia KMR 12, Canada RPM Top Singles 1, Canada RPM Adult Contemporary 1, New Zealand 2

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