Gilbert O'Sullivan

I'm a Writer, Not a Fighter

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1973 had started with so much promise for Gilbert O'Sullivan. In January, his second album, Back to Front had topped the chart and in March he had his second number one single with the up-tempo, bouncy "Get Down," which referred to a dog that seemed uncontrollable. However, changing his image from the street urchin from the poverty stricken 1930s to an up-to-date college lad, complete with sweaters with the big letter "G" on them, plus the twin-pronged attack on the charts by glam rock, particularly the Sweet and Gary Glitter, and teen idols David Cassidy and Donny Osmond, had changed the musical landscape. Then to launch his third album, I'm a Writer, Not a Fighter, his label MAM released the single "Ooh Baby" which was his first to miss the Top Ten after a long string of successes, hardly surprisingly, as "Ooh Baby" was not a great song, lacking both any sort of melody and lyrical ingenuity. In this context, the third album was released and although peaking at number two in October 1973, it was a disappointment compared to Back to Front; When it finally fell out of the Top Ten in February 1974, O'Sullivan appeared a spent force. The opening title track of I'm a Writer started with a funky guitar in an attempt to sound like a Stevie Wonder song, but O'Sullivan did not have Wonder's voice, and this type of song really didn't suit him. The same problem was on "Who Knows Perhaps Maybe" which could have been a rewrite of his own "Get Down." Much better were the ballads "They've Only Themselves to Blame" and "Where Peaceful Waters Flow," with its gospel style ending. I'm a Writer, Not a Fighter ended with its best song, "Get Down," and O'Sullivan would never again hit these heights.

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