Clair (song)

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Clair - Gilbert O'Sullivan.jpg
Single by Gilbert O'Sullivan
from the album Back to Front
B-side "What Could Be Nicer (Mum, The Kettle's Boiling)" (UK release), "Ooh-Wakka-Doo-Wakka-Day" (U.S. release)
Released October 1972 (1972-10)
Genre Pop
Length 03:03
Label MAM
Writer(s) Gilbert O'Sullivan
Producer(s) Gordon Mills
Gilbert O'Sullivan singles chronology
"I Wish I Could Cry"

"Clair" is a popular song by Irish[1] singer-songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan and is one of his biggest-selling singles. Written by O'Sullivan and produced by Gordon Mills, it was the number one single in the UK Singles Chart for two weeks in November 1972,[2] number one in Canada on the RPM 100 national singles chart the following January, and peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. It was also O'Sullivan's second and last number one hit on the U.S. Easy Listening chart, after "Alone Again (Naturally)".[3]

The song is the love song of a close family friend who babysits a young girl (actually the artist's manager's daughter), though for the first part of the song, the ambiguous text leads one to think that it is from one adult to another. The brief instrumental introduction is the sound of O'Sullivan whistling, before he comes in. The real Clair was the three-year-old daughter of O'Sullivan's producer-manager, Gordon Mills, and his wife, the model Jo Waring. The little girl's giggling is heard at the end of this song. The "Uncle Ray" mentioned in the song is O'Sullivan himself, a reference to his real name of Raymond O'Sullivan. The instrumental break in the middle section is done half a step up from A to B-Flat, before going back to A.[citation needed]

"Clair" was included in O'Sullivan's album Back to Front (1972). An Italian version was performed in 1973 by the crooner Johnny Dorelli. A cover by Singers Unlimited was sampled by producer J Dilla for the Slum Village song "Players".

Chart performance[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ January Git lyrics "maybe it's because I'm an Irishman that I like Dublin best"
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 279–280. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 187. 
  4. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  5. ^ "Item: 7336 - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  6. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  7. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  8. ^ "Top 100 1972 - UK Music Charts". Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  9. ^ David Kent's "Australian Chart Book 1970-1992" Archived March 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1973/Top 100 Songs of 1973". Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-11. Retrieved 2016-06-25. 
Preceded by
"Mouldy Old Dough" by Lieutenant Pigeon
UK Singles Chart number one single
11 November 1972 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"My Ding-a-Ling" by Chuck Berry
Preceded by
"I Am Woman" by Helen Reddy
Canadian RPM 100 number-one single
January 6–20, 1973
Succeeded by
"You're So Vain" by Carly Simon