Today BMG release “Let Me Know”, the second single to be taken from Gilbert O’Sullivan’s twentieth studio album, “Driven”, out 22nd July. The accompanying video was mixed with an immersive 360 Reality Audio in mind and is available to hear on headphones. 360 Reality is an immersive music experience utilising Sony’s 360 Spatial Sound technology. This allows individual sounds to be placed in a 360 spherical sound field giving the listener a unique opportunity to enjoy some of their favourite songs like never before.
Gilbert O’Sullivan’s career has spanned 50 years. His first single proper “Nothing Rhymed” was released in 1970 and almost overnight it achieved Top 10 status In the UK charts. His debut album “Himself” was littered with the most perfect examples of his art and craftsmanship. Top 10 singles abounded, including the classic, “Alone Again (Naturally)”. His second album, 1972’s “Back To Front”, firmly cemented Gilbert amongst the world’s best. This critically acclaimed album topped both the UK and US charts for an astonishing six weeks, earning him not one but three Grammy nominations.
British recognition soon followed with the songs “Clair” and “Get Down” reaching the summit of the UK singles charts and his LP “Back To Front” topping the album charts. In the same year at the 18th Ivor Novello Awards Gilbert was named ‘Song Writer of the Year’. To date he has won three Ivor Novello awards, and in recent times performed alongside artists including Ray Davies. He has also headlined Glastonbury (where he was once joined on stage by Squeeze’s Glenn Tilbrook), Proms In The Park, toured extensively throughout the UK, Ireland, Europe, Japan and Australia.
His last album, 2018’s “Gilbert O’Sullivan”, was acclaimed across the UK media and achieved Gilbert’s highest UK Album Chart position in almost 45 years.
One of “Driven” ’s instantly memorable standouts, “Let Me Know” finds Gilbert in reflective mood on a song that recalls the first decade of his career, in which he resisted serious relationships for fear that it might have an effect on his songwriting. ‘But I also like the idea of having a song in which the guy says to the girl, if your heart’s not in it anymore, don’t worry about me. I’ll be ok.’
‘Let Me Know’ is taken from Gilbert’s new album “Driven”, which follows his acclaimed Ethan Johns-produced, self-titled 2018 album. The thirteen songs that comprise Driven reveal a songwriter whose ability to sniff out hitherto undiscovered sources of low-hanging melodic fruit is keener than ever. Produced by Andy Wright and recorded with a live band at the legendary RAK studios, the unexpected velocity at which the songs came together bears testament to the instant chemistry generated between O’Sullivan, Wright and a house band featuring Pat Murdoch (Beyonce, Simply Red, Chrissie Hynde), Rich Milner (Morcheeba, James Morrison) and Geoff Holdroyde (Take That, Big Linda).
The album features duets with Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall on “Take Love” and big fan and Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall on “Let Bygones Be Bygones”. Gilbert’s extraordinary ability for exploring the human condition is exemplified on “Hey Man”; on “Body and Mind”, we’re presented an adhesively catchy audit of blessings which takes the form of an internal dialogue about its protagonist’s lifetime lover. More topical issues are explored in “You and Me Babe”, where Gilbert juxtaposes the things that make our lives meaningful against the turbulence of the world at large, with a subtle reference to climate change. Whilst, framed by an exquisitely tender string arrangement, “If Only Love Had Ears” is, by any metric, one of the most beautiful songs to bear O’Sullivan’s name.
Reflective songs come in the form of the aforementioned ‘Let Me Know’ – and another instantly memorable standout on Driven – ‘Blue Anchor Bay’, which finds him reflecting upon simpler times, retreating to his teenage years in Swindon and the regular school trips which would see him and his friends head out to the Somerset beach immortalised in the song’s title.
At its core, “Driven” is an album that offers a nuanced portrait man reaffirming his own values and sense of self in an increasingly chaotic world. Never a conventional songwriter, he perhaps conforms to the description of a British chansonnier, praised by none other than Lenny Kaye – rock scholar and guitarist with the Patti Smith Group – for ‘songs [that] are artfully constructed, lyrically original with a fine sense of filigree detail.’ As with Paul McCartney and the young Harry Nilsson – two songwriters for whom he retains a huge fondness – Gilbert O’Sullivan’s reach extends beyond the parameters of rock’n’roll.
Love Casualty Blue Anchor Bay Let Bygones Be Bygones (featuring Mick Hucknall) Body and Mind What Are You Waiting For Let Me Know Take Love (featuring KT Tunstall) Back and Forth If Only Love Had Ears You Can’t Say I Didn’t Try You and Me Babe Hey Man Don’t Get Under Each Other’s Skin