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Neil Sedaka

Neil Sedaka was born in Brooklyn, New York on March 13, 1939.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 took a part-time job in an Abraham & Straus department store for six months to pay for a second-hand upright.In 1947, he auditioned successfully for a piano scholarship to the prestigious Juilliard School of Music’s Preparatory Division for Children. 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 “The Diary”, “Oh! Carol”, “Stairway To Heaven”, “You Mean Everything to Me”, “Calendar Girl”, “Little Devil”, “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen”, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do”, and “Next Door To An Angel”.A similar sharing of creative hits came earlier with Sedaka and singer Connie Francis. Her recording of “Stupid Cupid” reached #14 on the Billboard charts, and among the other Sedaka/Greenfield Connie Francis hits are”The Diary” (Sedaka’s first hit single,”Fallin” and “Where the Boys Are”.Between 1960 and 1962, Sedaka had eight Top 40 hits.In 1972, Sedaka embarked on a successful English tour and in June recorded the Solitaire album in England, and a year later he recorded The Tra-La Days Are Over, 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 to 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.It was those hits, plus Sedaka’s own stagecraft, that made him a comeback success story.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.