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OSullivan Gilbert Quizzes, Trivia and Puzzles
OSullivan Gilbert Quizzes, Trivia

Gilbert O'Sullivan Trivia

Gilbert O'Sullivan Trivia Quizzes

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3 Gilbert O'Sullivan quizzes and 30 Gilbert O'Sullivan trivia questions.
  Gilbert O'Sullivan: Alone Again (Cup of Tea)   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Born in Ireland - Raised in England - With Cole Porter and Charlie Chaplin as his heroes - Gilbert O'Sullivan is a mixed-up, creative, reclusive, song-writing genius - And did I mention that he loves tea and can't stop writing about it in his songs?
Average, 10 Qns, glendathecat, Mar 11 16
256 plays
  Gilbert and Sullivan Rock and Roll Songs    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
He may not be the "very model of a modern major general" or a "dear, little buttercup", but soft-rockstar Gilbert O'Sullivan does have both Gilbert and Sullivan in his name.
Difficult, 10 Qns, bernie73, Oct 02 17
bernie73 gold member
Oct 02 17
161 plays
  Gilbert O'Sullivan    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Gilbert O'Sullivan is, in my humble opinion, one of the finest songwriter/singers of the 20th/21st century. Here are some mixed questions about his life, music and his career.
Tough, 10 Qns, skyvet, Mar 11 16
229 plays

Gilbert O'Sullivan Trivia Questions

1. A catchy name can draw quite a bit of attention to an entertainer. What change did manager Stephen Shane suggest Gilbert O'Sullivan make to his name?

From Quiz
Gilbert and Sullivan Rock and Roll Songs

Answer: He suggested he change his first name to Gilbert.

Raymond Edward O'Sullivan was born in Waterford, Ireland in 1946. His family moved to London when he was a child. Playing in various bands while in college, O'Sullivan met Stephen Shane in the late 1960s. Shane suggested Raymond change the first name of his stage name to Gilbert to suggest "Gilbert and Sullivan"--whose operettas have been popular since the late 1800s. O'Sullivan's early solo appearances often sported a "schoolboy" costume with a pudding-bowl haircut and short pants.

2. Gilbert's name is designed to bring to mind the Victorian comic opera writing partnership of Gilbert and Sullivan but how much of it was he given at birth?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan: Alone Again (Cup of Tea)

Answer: The surname

Raymond Edward O'Sullivan was born in Waterford, Ireland in 1946, the second oldest of six children. His family moved to England in 1960. Over 40 years on, it is unclear exactly who dreamed up the name. Various sources attribute it to Gilbert (Ray?), Stephen Shane at CBS, Gilbert's first record label, and Gordon Mills, Gilbert's manager when he moved to MAM in 1970. The latter is probably to be ruled out as his first single, "Disappear" in 1967, already had him as "Gilbert": "He is twenty years old, has an old fashioned bobtail jacket with grey creaseless trousers at half-mast. School tie and clod-hopper boots. He looks as if he escaped from an old Greyfriars School story ... He says "I am not a gimmick. I believe in my music and my image. ... Is it for real? Heck - you'll have to listen and make up your own mind." (Record Mirror", 16th December 1967)

3. Raymond Edward O'Sullivan, who adopted the stage name Gilbert, was born on 1st December 1944 in which county of the Republic of Ireland?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan

Answer: Waterford

It's suprising that he maintains a slim figure, as his mother ran a sweet shop!

4. In which period did Gilbert's biggest hits come?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan: Alone Again (Cup of Tea)

Answer: 1970-75

The period between "Nothing Rhymed" (1970) and "I Don't Love You But I Think I Like You" (1975) saw Gilbert enjoy 12 top 20 hits in the UK with the biggest of these coming between 1971 and 1973. He topped the charts twice with "Clair" (1972) and "Get Down" (1973). Initial success in America came slightly later with "Alone Again (Naturally)" (1972) although this was compensated by the song staying on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks. The only sizeable hit to follow was 1980's "What's in a Kiss?" which reached number 19 in the UK.

5. Gilbert's first band were called the Doodles, formed when he was at Swindon Art College in Wiltshire. What instrument did Gilbert play in the band?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan

Answer: Drums

Although he played drums with the Doodles, the first instrument he learned was the guitar, and progressed on to piano after that.

6. When Gilbert first hit the big time he chose a distinctive dress style of flat cap, pudding basin haircut and shorts. How did the media describe this "look", taking the name from a UK TV commercial?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan: Alone Again (Cup of Tea)

Answer: The Bisto Kid look

There may be confusion as to who suggested his name, but Gilbert's 'Bisto Kid' image was entirely his own creation. In media interviews he gave different reasons for adopting it that ranged through mass market appeal, putting audiences at ease and brand identity to the fact that this was who Gilbert really was. Was it really? Because the look was ditched as soon as Gilbert made it big in America. "The reason I did all this, short-trousers, short-hair bit was to get to as many eyes and ears as possible This is where people like James Taylor and Elton John have failed - they still quite truthfully have a minority audience - that I don't want." ("Melody Maker", 1970) "No matter who you are, there is always tension between the performer and the audience. I hope by appearing like this the audience will burst out laughing as soon as I come on. Then we can dispense with that slow painful getting to know you process that can eat up half a concert." ("New Musical Express", 1971) "I've got knickerbocker suits and things to wear and it's just a laugh really - and it's totally representative of me. ... With an audience, you can have fun and when someone dresses like me, you can do stupid things and have a bit of a laugh. But of course everything is based on music. The idea was to create an image that people could associate with and I hope one day things will get to the stage where I'll just have to have a coat stand, an oil lamp and a boot on the LP cover with nothing else at all and people will know it's me." ("Mirabelle", 1971) "Anyway the short hair and Chaplin clothes are really me. I've had them for years now. If you can get an image of your own then you've got a head start on anyone else. It's all a question of identity - if you are going to put in that extra effort then people are going to like you for it." ("New Musical Express", 21 Aug 1971)

7. After his contract with CBS expired, who became Gilbert's manager, signing him to the MAM label?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan

Answer: Gordon Mills

At the time he signed Gilbert, Gordon Mills was already managing Tom Jones and Englebert Humperdinck (among others).

8. "Alone Again (Naturally)", as well as being parodied in the title of this quiz, was also Gilbert's breakthrough hit in America. What was the controversial subject of the song?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan: Alone Again (Cup of Tea)

Answer: Suicide

"In a little while from now If I'm not feeling any less sour I promise myself to treat myself And visit a nearby tower And climbing to the top will throw myself off" In the song, Gilbert describes being jilted at his wedding and goes on to relate the deaths of his parents. The only detail that was autobiographically true was that Gilbert's own father had died when he was young, as he related to "Jackie" magazine in 1974: ""My Dad worked in the slaughterhouse of a meat factory in Waterford. My Mum ran a sweet shop. Home was a council house in the Cork Road. The Swindon job came up because Dad's firm also had a factory there. Dad asked for the move because the money would be a lot better in Swindon." ... But in 1960, not all that long after they had settled into their new home, a shadow fell on the O'Sullivan family. Gilbert's father became ill. For a time he struggled on at work. When he had to give up and it was obvious he wasn't getting any better, it became clear there was something seriously wrong. "I remember my mother breaking the news to us that Dad had died," says Gilbert. "It was a terrible blow to us, as you can imagine.""

9. Which song saw Gilbert enjoy his first UK top 10 success in 1970?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan

Answer: Nothing Rhymed

"Nothing Rhymed" reached the number 8 spot in November 1970.

10. Most of Gilbert O'Sullivan's singles were also released on albums. Which song is unusual in only being released as a single and not on an original studio album?

From Quiz Gilbert and Sullivan Rock and Roll Songs

Answer: Ooh-Wakka-Doo-Wakka-Day

The song was originally released in 1972 and rose to Number 8 on the United Kingdom Singles chart and Number one on the Irish Singles chart. "Ooh-Wakka-Doo-Wakka-Day" would appear on a remastered version of "Back to Front" in 2012. In 2013, a reworded cover of the song was used in advertisements for the United kingdom's National Lottery.

11. One of Gilbert's most famous songs was entitled "Clair". Who gave Gilbert the inspiration for this song?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan

Answer: His manager's daughter

Clair was 3 years old at the time of Gilbert writing the song, and he often used to babysit her when her parents went out.

12. And "Alone Again (Naturally)" was also the subject of a 1991 ground-breaking US legal suit. What did the ruling in this case establish?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan: Alone Again (Cup of Tea)

Answer: That a song cannot be sampled without the permission of the original artist

The case Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Brothers Records Inc. saw Gilbert up against comedic rapper Biz Markie. The accusation was that Markie's song "Alone Again", released on the album "I Need a Haircut", had sampled Gilbert's original without permission. The judge's idiosyncratic pronouncement reads as follows: ""Thou shalt not steal." has been an admonition followed since the dawn of civilization. Unfortunately, in the modern world of business this admonition is not always followed. Indeed, the defendants in this action for copyright infringement would have this court believe that stealing is rampant in the music business and, for that reason, their conduct here should be excused. The conduct of the defendants herein, however, violates not only the Seventh Commandment, but also the copyright laws of this country."

13. In which year did Gilbert receive his first Ivor Novello award?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan

Answer: 1973

He won the award as "Best songwriter of the year". He also won it again the following year for "Best Song" with the track "Get Down".

14. Gilbert O'Sullivan's song "Get Down" is sometimes misinterpreted. According to O'Sullivan himself, what does the command in the song mean?

From Quiz Gilbert and Sullivan Rock and Roll Songs

Answer: Telling a girl to get off of him.

Here's the first few lines of the song: "Told you once before / And I won't tell you no more / Get down, get down, get down / You're a bad dog baby / But I still want you 'round" Though it is a bit ambiguous, O'Sullivan himself has said that he is speaking to a girl in the song. "Get Down" was a Number one hit in the United Kingdom and Ireland and a Number three hit on the United States Adult Contemporary charts.

15. The quintessentially English humor in Gilbert's lyrics is sometimes lost on an American audience. According to an interview with "Rolling Stone", which song prompted a Los Angeles DJ to say, "Now Gilbert likes little girls!"?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan: Alone Again (Cup of Tea)

Answer: Clair

"But why in spite of our age difference do I cry Each time I leave you I feel I could die Nothing means more to me than hearing you say I'm going to marry you Will you marry me Uncle Ray? Oh! Clair" "Clair" was famously written about babysitting his manager's daughter, Clair Mills, then aged three. It topped the UK chart in 1972 and reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Clair and Gilbert never did get together! By the time she was old enough for matrimony, he had married Norwegian wife Aase with whom he has had two daughters. Clair did, however, marry a musician in Jason O'Bryan of the Dub Pistols. The 1973 interview with Paul Gambacinni also revealed that "Underneath the Blanket Go" had been interpreted as describing masturbation and I can't even begin to describe the possible interpretation that it put upon "Get Down".

16. In January 1980, Gilbert married his girlfriend Aase. What is her nationality?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan

Answer: Norwegian

Their first child Helen-Marie was born in 1981. The couple's second daughter Tara was born in 1984.

17. In many ways, the most successful years of Gilbert O'Sullivan's career was in the nineteen seventies. How many number one singles on any national chart did he score during this decade?

From Quiz Gilbert and Sullivan Rock and Roll Songs

Answer: six

"Nothing Rhymed" (1970) and "Underneath the Blanket Go" (1971) were number one in the Netherlands. "Alone Again (Naturally)" was Number one on the United States Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts. "Ooh-Wakka-Doo-Wakka-Day" (1972) was Number one in Ireland. "Clair" (1972) and "Get Down" (1973) were Number 1 in the United Kingdom and Ireland with "Clair" also reaching Number one on the United States Adult Contemporary chart. As far as his albums go, "Himself" (1971) was a Number 1 album in Norway and "Back to Front" was a Number one album in the United Kingdom and Norway.

18. Why did Gilbert release no new material between 1982 and 1987?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan: Alone Again (Cup of Tea)

Answer: His contract was on hold while he sued his manager

The case of Gilbert O'Sullivan Vs Management Agency and Music Limited (MAM) saw Gilbert taking on his manager, Gordon Mills, alleging that their contract should be voided as a result of undue influence and unreasonable restraint of trade. He had been promised that he would be co-publisher on his songs but this never materialised. The judge found in his favour and awarded him copyright to the material in question together with the master tapes and £7m. The option of being a house husband was never very likely as Gilbert freely admits to having old-fashioned chauvinistic values: "Oh yes, always have been - I don't think you lose that. I married a woman and asked her to stay at home and look after the children. I'm old-fashioned in that I want to be the breadwinner." ("Hello", 25th November 1989)

19. In 2001, Gilbert launched his own record label. What name did he give to the label?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan

Answer: ByGum

Gilbert also launched his own official website in 2001 (

20. In the 1990s, Gilbert O'Sullivan was involved in a landmark court which dealt with the use of sampling music in recording. Which of O'Sullivan's songs did rapper Biz Markie sample on his 1991 album "I Need a Haircut"?

From Quiz Gilbert and Sullivan Rock and Roll Songs

Answer: Alone Again (Naturally)

The case title was "Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc." Biz Markiee had sampled "Alone Again (Naturally)" for use in his song "Alone Again" without getting permission from Gilbert O'Sullivan or his record company. As a result of the decision, musical artists must receive permission from the original artist to sample a previous musical work. Gilbert O'Sullivan was awarded 100% of the royalties for Biz Markie's song.

21. Gilbert's 1993 album "Sounds of the Loop", which was named by the Daily Telegraph newspaper as the Record of the Week, was recorded almost entirely in Gilbert's studio at his home where?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan

Answer: Jersey

This album features a duet with the legendary Peggy Lee on the track "Can't Think Straight".

22. Gilbert's songs are laced with references to tea but in which song did he admit that he "drank a little wine" and was "as happy as could be"?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan: Alone Again (Cup of Tea)

Answer: Get Down

"Once upon a time I drank a little wine Was as happy as could be, happy as could be Now I'm just like a cat on a hot tin roof Baby what do you think you're doin' to me Told you once before And I won't tell you no more So get down, get down, get down You're a bad dog baby But I still want you around" "Get Down" took the novel approach of writing about a girlfriend as though she were a dog - and a bad one at that! Tea features in many of Gilbert's lyrics - his favourite is Assam - and some of these appear below. Boy George famously once quipped that he preferred a cup of tea to sex. Put the two together and we could have another Gilbert and George. "I hope you'll stay and have a cup of tea Oh I hope you'll play my monopoly" ("I Hope You'll Stay") "I think it's great, but it could be better I like it a lot, it's just not my cup of tea" ("I Love It But") "Now if you love me You're not above me And if you don't well What can I say Except we'll see when You come to tea then you can go Ooh wakka doo wakka day" ("Ooh Wakka Doo Wakka Day") "Congratulations everyone and two and three and four You've really made my day for me So here's what I've in store An ounce of tea that will if we Stir well turn into glue" ("Mr and Mrs Regard") Welcome to the world of work It's a nice beginning Followed shortly by a coffee or tea" ("World of Work") "The tea and toast I bring us up in bed The pleasure I get when you stroke my head That I can be there when you use the loo Is how I say that I love you" ("How I Say That I Love You") "I will if you ask Buzz into a flask Filled up with cold coffee and tea" ("Valentino") "Like a needle without a thread A Guinness without its head Where would we be without tea" ("Where Would We Be (Without Tea)") "All I ever get from you is breakfast dinner and tea" ("Breakfast Dinner and Tea")

23. After legalities forced Gilbert to spend 5 years in the "wilderness", his first release after this was in 1987, was only released in Germany, and had which title?

From Quiz Gilbert O'Sullivan

Answer: Frobisher Drive

Frobisher Drive was the street where Gilbert lived during his time at Swindon Art College. Gold Hill in Shaftbury (England) was where the picture that appeared on the album cover was taken. The other two are ficticious!

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