Alone Again (Naturally)

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"Alone Again (Naturally)"
Alone Again single.jpg
Single by Gilbert O'Sullivan
from the album Back to Front
B-side "Save It"
Released 18 February 1972 (UK) [1]
May 1972 (US) [2]
Format 7"
Recorded 1971
Genre Soft rock[3]
Length 3:36
Label MAM
Songwriter(s) Gilbert O'Sullivan
Producer(s) Gilbert O'Sullivan
Gilbert O'Sullivan singles chronology
"No Matter How I Try"
"Alone Again (Naturally)"
"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 #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 #1). "Alone Again (Naturally)" also spent six weeks at number one on the Easy Listening chart.[4] The track reached #3 in the UK Singles Chart.[5]

The song is also featured in the films Under The Skin, The Virgin Suicides, Osmosis Jones, Stuart Little 2, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Stuck on You, Lost Islands, Megamind, and Love, Rosie.


"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 that his song was written.[6] 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]

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 Biz Markie 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.[18]

Maison Ikkoku[edit]

This song, along with another one of O'Sullivan's songs, "Get Down", were featured as the opening and ending for episode 24 of the Japanese anime hit Maison Ikkoku. At the time, O'Sullivan was signed to production company Kitty Film's associated record label, Kitty Records, which wanted to use the anime's popularity as a way to promote the singer's career in Japan. According to series director Kazuo Yamazaki, the reason the songs were dropped after only one episode was that they were unpopular with viewers; due to copyright issues, they were not included on the English-language American release of the anime, replaced by the previously used Japanese theme songs.

Cover versions[edit]

Esther Phillips covered the song on her 1972 album of the same title, released on the Kudu imprint of CTI Records.[19] Diana Krall and Michael Bublé cover "Alone Again (Naturally)" on Krall's 2015 album of covers, Wallflower.

Nina Simone recorded the song, with new lyrics about the death of her father, on her 1982 album Fodder on My Wings.

58 (band) recorded the song for their 2000 album Diet for a New America (album)

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.

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

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

German band Erdmöbel released a German translation of the song that is very close to the original lyrics on their 2007 album "no. 1 hits".

Appearance in The Simpsons[edit]

A two-second clip is played in the Season 17 episode "The Wettest Stories Ever Told", when Comic Book Guy sacrifices his life to save Homer. The song is also referenced in the titles of two other episodes: the Season 11 episode "Alone Again, Natura-diddily", and the Season 20 episode "No Loan Again, Naturally".


The song was heard in the 2002 movie Stuart Little 2, 2009 Blue Sky Studios movie Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and the 2010 DreamWorks Animation movie Megamind. It also appeared in the 2015 movie Love, Rosie starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  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. ^ a b "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  8. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  9. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  10. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Alone Again (Naturally)". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  12. ^ "Top 100 19__". Retrieved 17 June 2016. 
  13. ^ [Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002]
  14. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 8/26/72". 1972-08-26. Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  15. ^ "Top 100 1972 - UK Music Charts". Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  16. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  17. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1972". 1972-12-30. Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  18. ^ Music Sampling and Copyright Law (PDF), p. 21 
  19. ^ "Esther Phillips - Alone Again, Naturally". 2014-09-02. Retrieved 2016-10-06. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Lean on Me" by Bill Withers
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
July 29, 1972 (four weeks)
Succeeded by
"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass
Preceded by
"Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
September 2, 1972 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Black and White" by "Three Dog Night"
Preceded by
"Where Is the Love" by Roberta Flack and Donnie Hathaway
Billboard Easy Listening Singles number-one single
July 29, 1972 (six weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Guitar Man" by Bread