Alone Again (Naturally)

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"Alone Again (Naturally)"
Alone Again single.jpg
Single by Gilbert O'Sullivan
B-side"Save It"
Released18 February 1972 (UK)[1]
May 1972 (US)[2]
Format7-inch single
GenreSoft rock[3]
Songwriter(s)Gilbert O'Sullivan
Producer(s)Gilbert O'Sullivan
Gilbert O'Sullivan singles chronology
"No Matter How I Try"
"Alone Again (Naturally)"

"Alone Again (Naturally)" is a song by Irish singer-songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan. It was released in 1972 at the same time as (but not on) the album, Back to Front. In total, the single spent six weeks, non-consecutively, at No. 1 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 2 song for 1972. In Casey Kasem's American Top 40 of the 1970s, "Alone Again (Naturally)" ranked as the fifth most-popular song of the decade (Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life" was No. 1). "Alone Again (Naturally)" also spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Easy Listening chart.[4] The track reached No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart.[5]


"Alone Again (Naturally)" is an introspective ballad, starting with the singer contemplating suicide after being left at the altar after his bride deserted him, and then telling about the death of his parents. O'Sullivan has said that the song is not autobiographical, as he did not know his father (who died when O'Sullivan was 11) very well, and that his father had mistreated his mother. His mother was alive at the time the song was written.[6] O'Sullivan later commented “Neil Diamond covered "Alone Again (Naturally)" and said he couldn’t believe a 21-year-old wrote it, but for me it was just one song I had written”.[7] The song is included on O'Sullivan's The Berry Vest of Gilbert O'Sullivan album (2004) on the EMI record label. Big Jim Sullivan plays the guitar break in the original recorded version of the song.

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1972) Peak
Australia KMR[8] 2
Canada RPM Top Singles[9] 1
Canada RPM Adult Contemporary[10] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[11] 2
New Zealand (Listener)[12] 2
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[13] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 1
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[15] 1
US Cash Box Top 100[16] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1972) Rank
Australia[8] 13
Canada 6
UK[17] 36
US Billboard Hot 100[18] 2
US Cash Box[19] 2

Copyright lawsuit[edit]

Grand Upright Music, Ltd v. Warner Bros. Records Inc., 780 F. Supp. 182 (S.D.N.Y. 1991), was a copyright case heard by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The case pitted singer/songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan against rapper Biz Markie after he sampled O'Sullivan's song, "Alone Again (Naturally)". The court ruled that sampling without permission can qualify as copyright infringement. The judgment changed the hip hop music industry, requiring that any future music sampling be preapproved by the original copyright owners to avoid a lawsuit.[20]

Cover versions[edit]

Many groups recorded Spanish versions of the song. In Mexico, a version by Grupo Santa Cecilia was successful in the '70s, and in Venezuela there was another version by the group Los Tres Tristes Tigres. Both versions were titled "Solo otra vez".

Andy Williams included the song on his 1972 album Alone Again (Naturally).

Shirley Bassey covered the song on her 1976 album Love, Life and Feelings.

Esther Phillips covered the song on her 1972 album of the same title, released on the Kudu imprint of CTI Records.[21] Nina Simone recorded the song, with new lyrics about the death of her father, on her 1982 album Fodder on My Wings.

58 recorded the song for their 2000 album Diet for a New America.

In 2017 the Pet Shop Boys included a version on their album Release: Further Listening 2001-2004, featuring vocals by Elton John.[22][23]

Lazlo Bane covered the song for their 2007 album Guilty Pleasures while Lazlo Bane's frontman Chad Fischer covered the song with alternative lyrics for the 2009 animated film Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Small video production company Clay Cow Productions made a music video for Lazlo Bane's version of the song.[24]

Har Mar Superstar regularly covers the song in his live shows.

Diana Krall and Michael Bublé - for the album Wallflower (2015).

Neil Diamond recorded it on his 2010 album of covers, Dreams.

Lee So-ra recorded it on her pop remake album My One and Only Love.

Dave Stryker made a jazz instrumental version of the song.

Lori Cullen recorded it on her 2006 album Calling for Rain.

Jonathon Coulton recorded it for his 2019 album of soft rock covers Some Guys.

Todd Gordon recorded it for his 2014 album Love dot com.


  1. ^ "Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again (Naturally)".
  2. ^ "Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again (Naturally)".
  3. ^ Fontenot, Robert. "Soft Rock Music and Songs". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 187.
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 411. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  6. ^ ""Alone Again (Naturally)" - Gilbert O'Sullivan". 1972-07-29. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  7. ^ KERNAN; Advertiser, REWS Galway; Thu; Nov 02; 2017. "'I can still compete with anyone despite being around so long'". Galway Advertiser. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  9. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  10. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  11. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Alone Again (Naturally)". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  12. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  13. ^ "Gilbert O'Sullivan: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  14. ^ "Gilbert OSullivan Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  15. ^ "Gilbert OSullivan Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  16. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 8/26/72". 1972-08-26. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  17. ^ "Top 100 1972 - UK Music Charts". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  18. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  19. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1972". 1972-12-30. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  20. ^ Music Sampling and Copyright Law (PDF), p. 21
  21. ^ "Esther Phillips - Alone Again, Naturally". 2014-09-02. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  22. ^ SunnyGirl. "Pet shop boys( Alone Again)". Retrieved 26 January 2019 – via YouTube.
  23. ^ "Release: Further Listening 2001-2004 - Pet Shop Boys - Release Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  24. ^ "Clay Cow Productions Videos". Retrieved 2017-01-11.

External links[edit]