Synopsis of Pop Music
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Neil Sedaka’s teen-idol hits were pop at its purest: the music intensely catchy, the vocals bright, the sentiments cheerful, and the end result guaranteed to put a smile on your face. His old-fashioned yet catchy sound is the kind of thing that never goes out of style, allowing Sedaka to carve out a career whose success cut across several decades.
Neil Sedaka was a child prodigy on the piano, playing on classical radio programs with renowned musicians like Arthur Rubinstein and studying at the Juilliard School of Music. Despite the classical training, he had the heart of a pop musician and sang with doo-wop groups in his spare time. He started working as a pop songsmith in the mid-50’s and found success when Connie Francis had a hit with his song “Stupid Cupid” in 1958. As a result, Sedaka was able to get a contract with RCA as a performer and began recording his own material.
At this point, Neil Sedaka began crafting a series of legendary pop hits with his lyricist and childhood friend Howard Greenfield. He went to #14 on the pop charts with his first single, 1959’s “The Diary.” He broke into the Top-10 with “Oh Carol,” beginning an impressive string of hits that included such evergreens as “Calendar Girl,” “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen,” “Next Door To An Angel” and the #1 smash “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.” These melodic, catchy songs were further distinguished by Sedaka’s unique recording style, which involved multi-tracking his own voice to achieve a singularly rich harmony sound. By 1963, Sedaka had sold over 25 million records.
Sedaka turned his attention to the international market as the mid-60’s approached by recording albums in Hebrew, Spanish, German, Italian and Japanese. Each album contained songs and instrumentation native to the country. As the 60’s came to a close, Sedaka decided to concentrate on his career as a songwriter and producers for other artists. His outside work during this time included “Magic Colours” for Lesley Gore and “When Love Comes Knocking At Your Door” for the Monkees. “Puppet Man” was a Sedaka song that became a success for both Tom Jones and the Fifth Dimension.
By 1970, Sedaka had relocated to London and decided to resume his singing career. He drew inspiration from Carole King’s introspective Tapestry album and began writing more personal material with a new lyricist, Phil Cody. Sedaka also began to pen some of his own lyrics for the first time in his career. The results were English hits like “Solitaire” and “That’s Where The Music Takes Me.”
Sedaka’s British success moved onto American shores when his friend Elton John started these songs in America on his own record label. As a result, Sedaka had #1 hits in 1974 and 1975 with “Laughter In the Rain” and “Bad Blood” (for which Elton John sang backing vocals). He also went Top-10 with a ballad-style interpretation of “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” making him the only artist to have a Top-10 with two versions of the same song. During this time, the Captain and Tennille also scored a #1 hit with the Sedaka original “Love Will Keep Us Together.”
As the 80’s rolled around, Neil Sedaka was inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and wrote his autobiography. Sedaka continues to record and perform all over the world today, delighting more than one generation of fans with the evergreen purity of his irresistible pop confections.
Artist Release History1959 - Rock with Sedaka
1972 - Emergence
1972 - Solitaire
1975 - Sedaka's Back
1975 - The Hungry Years
1975 - All-Time Greatest Hits
1976 - Steppin' Out
1977 - A Song
1980 - In the Pocket
1986 - My Friend
1993 - Calendar Girl
1994 - Laughter in the Rain: The Best of Neil Sedaka
1995 - Tuneweaver
1997 - The Immaculate
1999 - In Italiano
1999 - Tales of Love
Pop Sub Categoriespop
Essential Music AlbumsAll-Time Greatest Hits (RCA)
Laughter In The Rain: The Best of Neil Sedaka 1974-1980 (Varese Vintage)