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Music pop singer, pianist, and songwriter Neil Sedaka picture(s)/pic(s), wallpaper and photo gallery, albums covers pictures.
Born: March 13, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
Neil Sedaka biography (bio):
Neil Sedaka is an American pop singer, pianist, and songwriter often associated with the Brill Building. He teamed up with Howard Greenfield to write many major hit songs for himself and others. Sedaka's voice is in the tenor and alto ranges.
Sedaka was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 13, 1939. His father, Mac Sedaka, a taxi driver, was the son of Turkish immigrants; his mother, Eleanor (Appel) Sedaka, was of Polish-Russian descent. He first demonstrated musical aptitude in his second-grade choral class, and when his teacher sent a note home suggesting he take piano lessons, his mother got a part-time job in an Abraham & Straus department store for six months to pay for a second-hand upright. He took to the instrument immediately. In 1947, he auditioned successfully for a piano scholarship to the prestigious Juilliard School of Music's Preparatory Division for Children, which he began to attend on Saturdays. He also maintained an interest in popular music, and when he was 13, a neighbor heard him playing and introduced him to her 16-year-old son, Howard Greenfield, an aspiring poet and lyricist; the two began writing songs together.
The best-known Billboard Hot 100 hits of his early career are "Oh! Carol" (#9, 1959), "Calendar Girl" (#4, 1960), "You Mean Everything to Me" (#17, 1960), "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen" (#6, 1961), and "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" (#1, 1962). "Oh! Carol" refers to Sedaka's Brill Building compatriot and former girlfriend Carole King. King soon responded with her own answer song, "Oh, Neil", which used Sedaka's full name. A Scopitone exists for "Calendar Girl". A similar sharing of creative hits came earlier with Sedaka and singer Connie Francis. As Francis explains at each of her concerts, she began searching for a new hit immediately after her 1958 single Who's Sorry Now? became a success. She was then introduced to Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, who played every ballad they had written to date, for her. After a few hours, Francis began writing in her diary while the two songwriters played the last of their ballads. After they finished their last song of the session, Francis told them that they wrote very beautiful ballads but that she considered them too intellectual for the young generation of the time. Greenfield then suggested to Sedaka a song they had written that morning for another girl group. Sedaka protested, believing that Francis would be insulted. Greenfield said that she hated all the other songs they had performed and that they had nothing more to lose. Sedaka reluctantly agreed to play Stupid Cupid with Greenfield for Francis. As soon as they finished playing the song, Francis told them that they had just played her new hit record. Francis' song reached #14 on the Billboard charts. While Francis was writing in her diary, Sedaka asked her if he could read what she had written. After she refused, Sedaka was inspired to write The Diary, which was his first hit single. Through the rest of her early career Sedaka and Greenfield wrote many of Connie Francis' hits such as Fallin and Where the Boys Are.
Between 1960 and 1962, Sedaka had eight Top 40 hits. But he was among the early 1960s performers whose careers were waylaid by the British Invasion and other sea changes in the music industry. His singles began to decline on the US charts, before disappearing altogether.
Come the 1970s, Sedaka was reinventing himself. After recording the unsuccessful album in England "Solitaire" for UK RCA, he began working with 10cc, who were co-owners of a successful recording studio in Stockport Strawberry Studios. 10cc produced and played on his album "The Tra La La Days Are Over" for UK Polydor, which jump started the second phase of his career. He then worked with Elton John, who signed him to his Rocket Records label. Sedaka returned to the public's attention with a flourish, topping the charts twice with "Laughter in the Rain" and "Bad Blood" (both 1975). Elton John provided backing vocals for the latter song. The flipside of "Laughter in the Rain" was "The Immigrant", a wistful, nostalgic piece recalling the days when America was more welcoming of immigrants, which Sedaka wrote to contrast the U.S. government's refusal grant John Lennon permanent resident alien status. Sedaka and Greenfield also co-wrote "Love Will Keep Us Together", a No. 1 hit for Captain and Tennille and the best selling record of 1975. The song, if listened to carefully, reveals the lyric "Sedaka is back" in the coda; Toni Tennille sang this lyric in an ad lib while laying down background vocals.
It was those hits, plus Sedaka's own stagecraft, that made him a comeback success story. Sedaka was chosen to be the opening act for the Carpenters by their manager, Sherwin Bash. According to the biography "Carpenters: The Untold Story" by Ray Coleman, Richard Carpenter ordered Sedaka fired, which resulted in a media backlash against the Carpenters after Sedaka publicly announced he was off the tour.
Richard Carpenter denied allegations that he ordered Sedaka fired for 'stealing their show', stating in his newsletter that they were proud of Sedaka's success. However, Sherwin Bash was later fired as the Carpenters' manager.
In 1975, Sedaka recorded a new version of "Breaking Up is Hard to Do." The chart-topping 1962 original was fast-tempo and bouncy teen pop, but the remake was much slower and in the style of a Jazz/Torch Piano centered arrangement. It reached #8 on the pop charts in early 1976, thus becoming the second artist to hit the US Top Ten twice with two separate versions of the same song. (The Ventures had hits in 1960 and 1964 with recordings of "Walk, Don't Run". Coincidentally, Sedaka's record label boss Elton John would later accomplish the feat twice, with 1991's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and 1997's "Candle in the Wind".)
Sedaka's second version of "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" topped Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. The same year, Elvis Presley recorded the Sedaka song "Solitaire". In 1980, Sedaka had a #19 hit with "Should've Never Let You Go," which he recorded with his daughter, Dara.
Sedaka is also the composer of the popular "Is This The Way to Amarillo", a song he wrote for Britain's Tony Christie. It reached #18 on the UK charts in 1971, but hit #1 when reissued in 2005, thanks to a cameo-filled video starring comedian Peter Kay. Sedaka recorded the song himself in 1977, when it became a #44 hit. On April 7, 2006, during a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Neil Sedaka was presented with an award from the book Guinness World Records: British Hit Singles and Albums as the writer of the Best-Selling Single of the 21st century for "Amarillo".
Ben Folds, an American pop singer; credited Neil Sedaka on his "iTunes Originals" album as being his inspiration when it came to song publishing. Hearing that Neil had a song published by the age of 13 gave Ben the goal of also getting a song published by his own 13th birthday.
In 2007, Sedaka continues to perform regularly. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in October 2006.
A special concert has been planned for October 2007 at the Lincoln Center in New York City, to honor the 50th anniversary of Sedaka's debut in show business.
Other musical works:
In 1985, certain songs composed by Sedaka were adapted as music for the Japanese anime TV series Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. These included the two opening themes "Zeta - Toki wo Koete" (originally written in English as "Better Days are Coming") and "Mizu no Hoshi e Ai wo Komete" (originally written in English as "For Us to Decide", but the English version was never recorded), as well as the ending theme "Hoshizora no Believe" (originally written as "Bad and Beautiful"). Due to copyright issues, the songs were replaced with other music for the North American DVD release.
In 1994, Sedaka provided the voice for Neil Mousaka, a character that was parody of himself, in Food Rocks, which was an attraction at Epcot from 1994 to 2006.
Neil Sedaka has been married to his wife, Leba, since 1962. They have two children: daughter Dara, a recording artist and vocalist for television and radio commercials and son Marc, a screenwriter who lives in Los Angeles, California.
Pop culture references:
In the Friends episode "The One With the Two Parties", Ross says that he is wearing the same bifocals that Neil Sedaka wears.
In the lyrics to mini-opera "Billy the Mountain", on the album Just Another Band From L.A. it is alleged that some people say Studabacher Hoch "could sing just like Neil Sedaka."
In the Boy Meets World episode "Killer Bees", Allen Matthews is being sarcastic when he says he couldn't find tickets to the Neil Sedaka concert.