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)"
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 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. Also, his mother was still alive when 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 performanceEdit

Weekly chartsEdit

Chart (1972) Peak
Australia KMR[8] 2
Canada RPM Top Singles[9] 1
Canada RPM Adult Contemporary[10] 1
France (IFOP)[11] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[12] 2
New Zealand (Listener)[13] 2
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[14] 3
US Billboard Hot 100[15] 1
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[16] 1
US Cash Box Top 100[17] 1

Year-end chartsEdit

Chart (1972) Rank
Australia[8] 13
Canada 6
UK[18] 36
US Billboard Hot 100[19] 2
US Cash Box[20] 2

All-time chartsEdit

Chart (1958-2018) Position
US Billboard Hot 100[21] 137

Copyright lawsuitEdit

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.[22]

Notable cover versionsEdit

Many artists have covered the song. Among the more notable are a version by Nina Simone included as a bonus track on the 1988 digital reissue of her 1982 album Fodder on My Wings and a version by Lazlo Bane's frontman Chad Fischer from the 2009 animated film Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Both versions feature substantially rewritten lyrics; Simone's savagely exhume her troubled relationship with her late father whereas Fischer's explore the unrequited desire of an acorn for the prehistoric squirrel who once chased it.


  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.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  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. ^ "Toutes les Chansons N° 1 des Années 70" (in French). InfoDisc. 1972-07-13. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Alone Again (Naturally)". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  13. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  14. ^ "Gilbert O'Sullivan: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  15. ^ "Gilbert OSullivan Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  16. ^ "Gilbert OSullivan Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved June 3, 2018.
  17. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 8/26/72". 1972-08-26. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  18. ^ "Top 100 1972 - UK Music Charts". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  19. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  20. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1972". 1972-12-30. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
  21. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  22. ^ Music Sampling and Copyright Law (PDF), p. 21

External linksEdit