Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Gilbert O’Sullivan, “Alone Again (Naturally)”

There are certain times when I don’t really care how many people choose a song that I chose, I’m going with it anyway. Jim let us know that he wanted to use “Alone, Confined, Depressed, Isolated, Restless, Solo” as the prompts for today, and this song came immediately to mind. The 1970’s were a time when, if you wrote a depressing song, it was practically a license to print money. This is no exception.

Raymond Edward O’Sullivan, who took the stage name Gilbert O’Sullivan, was from County Waterford, Ireland. He had already been a success in the UK and The Netherlands with several songs off his eponymous debut album from 1971, but found international success with “Alone Again (Naturally).” Released in 1972, it reached #3 in the UK, #1 in the US, where it spent six nonconsecutive weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 and sold 2 million copies, and #1 in Canada, where it spent two weeks at #1 and 13 weeks in the Top 40. He was nominated for Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and might have won at least one had he not been up against Roberta Flack and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which won both.

The lyrics, from AZLyrics:

In a little while from now
If I’m not feeling any less sour
I promise myself to treat myself
And visit a nearby tower

And climbing to the top
Will throw myself off
In an effort to make clear to whomever
What it’s like when you’re shattered

Left standing in the lurch
At a church where people saying
My God, that’s tough, she stood him up
No point in us remaining

We may as well go home
As I did on my own
Alone again, naturally

To think that only yesterday
I was cheerful, bright and gay
Looking forward to, well, who wouldn’t do
The role I was about to play

But as if to knock me down
Reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch
Cut me into little pieces

Leaving me to doubt
Talk about God in His mercy
Who, if He really does exist
Why did He desert me?

And in my hour of need
I truly am, indeed
Alone again, naturally

It seems to me that there are more hearts
Broken in the world that can’t be mended
Left unattended
What do we do?
What do we do?

Alone again, naturally

Now, looking back over the years
And whatever else that appears
I remember I cried when my father died
Never wishing to hide the tears

And at sixty-five years old
My mother, God rest her soul
Couldn’t understand why the only man
She had ever loved had been taken

Leaving her to start
With a heart so badly broken
Despite encouragement from me
No words were ever spoken

And when she passed away
I cried and cried all day
Alone again, naturally
Alone again, naturally

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for April 26, 2020.


24 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday/Song of the Day: Gilbert O’Sullivan, “Alone Again (Naturally)”

  1. All these years later when I read these lyrics, I appreciate the deeper meanings. If Gilbert O’Sullivan felt these feelings and all the people who made it a hit felt them too, we are not alone in our aloneness.


  2. Another great choice, John. It’s funny how so many of these songs have meanings I never paid much attention to. Thanks for featuring this one.


  3. I had no clue about what song you were talking about until I played. I know this song well and nice to listen to even if the lyrics are sad


    1. It is, yet somehow cathartic. That was the style in the ’70’s, where you felt better hearing about how crappy things were for someone else.


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