Alas, this is a love song that had a most unhappy ending. Gordon Mills, the father of Clair, was the man who can be said to have created Gilbert O'Sullivan. The Irishman was born Raymond Edward O'Sullivan, and moved to the North of England as a boy when his father was offered a job in Swindon. After finishing art college, Raymond moved to the capital to chase the dream, a path taken by countless songwriters and other artistes before and since, successful and not so. He got lucky when a workmate who had a contract with CBS gave him an intro to the company, and he was signed up for a five year deal, which must have been music to his ears at the time, but led precisely nowhere.
Eventually, he came to the attention of Gordon Mills, who knew the music industry inside out, having been both a performer and a songwriter before moving over to the business side. (He co-wrote "It's Not Unusual
", the song that launched the career of Tom Jones). Mills signed O'Sullivan to MAM, changed his name, and the world was his oyster.Alas
, as often happens when a star arrives, he decides he is being underpaid, while the person who guided him to fame and fortune believes Mr. Ten Percent should receive a larger slice of the pie. Their relationship, which had been as much friendship as business, ended in the courts. After years of litigation, O'Sullivan came out on top; the London Times
of May 6, 1982 reported that "agreements made between Mr. O'Sullivan and Mr. Mills and his company, Management Agency and Music Ltd [were] 'an unreasonable restraint of trade'."
Among other things, O'Sullivan won control of his songs and master tapes. According to a July 1995 article by Grace Bradberry, the court case left Mills humiliated, his company collapsed, his wife divorced him, and he died in 1986 a broken man.