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Gilbert O'Sullivan speaks ahead of Birmingham show

He's written some of music's most beautiful lyrics – and had his songs covered by the likes of Neil Diamond and Shirley Bassey.

Gilbert O'Sullivan speaks ahead of Birmingham show

Yet Gilbert O'Sullivan's greatest career goal was to hear the postman whistling his song on his daily round.

The humble Irish star returns to Birmingham on Monday for a sold-out show at the Symphony Hall, as part of his 50th anniversary tour.

"Birmingham Symphony Hall is one of my favourite places to play," says the Alone Again star.

"Birmingham and Liverpool are like second homes to us. We've always had the best reaction from crowds there outside of London."

The show will last around two-and-a-half hours, said the songwriter, giving him chance to play the 'well-known hits', as well as album numbers and new material.

See Gilbert perform We Will on Top Of The Pops here:


"I always get emails from people asking for songs and get people telling me after shows that I didn't play their favourite songs – in a nice way. So I always do my best to try and include those at later dates," adds Gilbert.

"I've got a really good band joining me too. But, of course, the crowd makes the show.

"I always try to meet fans after the show, unless there's some sort of issue. It's important to have the opportunity to meet and greet people."

Now at the age of 70 , Gilbert is still excited at the prospect of making new music – a goal which he intends to return to once the tour is complete.

"My love for music began when I was seven or eight. I loved The Shadows, but didn't really think 'I would like to do that'.

"Then The Beatles turned up and they were of a similar age group to myself and they started people wanting to be in bands across the world.

"I created the character Gilbert, wearing a Charlie Chaplin cap. I loved it, but nobody else did. They all hated it. I was told to grow my hair and wear ripped jeans, and then I'd do fine.

"I never really wanted global success. I just wanted to have my songs played in England, where I live. I wanted to hear the postman whistling my song as he came up my path.

"But writing music and hearing it on the radio – that's magic. It's a feeling I'll never lose.

"After this tour, I'll be going back to make more music. I'm currently in the process of talking to producers. I'm excited about it, as it's a new project – my next album. I just like the idea of writing songs and being able to make an album. It's something I love.

"We're planning to record in the middle of the year, with the hope of releasing the album in September or October, if not it'll be 2018. There may be a duet in there too."

Though he has little interest in the rich and famous, he admitted a high point over the years was meeting Joni Mitchell.

"I was having a meal with my daughter in a restaurant in Los Angeles when I heard a voice behind me I instantly recognised – it was Joni Mitchell," he says.

"So I turned around and introduced myself. I saw her first concert in England back in 1967. She didn't know who I was, but I didn't mind – I just told her I was a fan."

By Kirsten Rawlins

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