A SONG FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD
(born March 13, 1939)
An American pop/rock singer, pianist, and composer. His career has spanned nearly 55 years, during which time he has sold millions of records as an artist and has written or co-written over 500 songs for himself and other artists, collaborating mostly with lyricists Howard Greenfield and Phil Cody. ~ Wikipedia
I grew up listening to two of Neil Sedaka’s albums: Sedaka’s Back (1974) and The Hungry Years (1975) . I used to dress up and do skits dancing and singing to these songs. I think I totally wore my mom out from ever wanting to hear another note he played. For my 43rd birthday my husband got me tickets to see Neil Sedaka perform. I went to see Rammstein for his birthday and he was going to see Neil Sedaka with me. It didn’t work out that way because another band my husband loves was playing on the same night so I was dateless.
A few weeks went by and I couldn’t find anyone who knew who Neil Sedaka was. I didn’t want to go with anyone who didn’t love him as much as I did so I was pretty much prepared to go alone but after a facebook post I found a few fans and one of them accompanied me. The evening was wonderful. The Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra played with him and I couldn’t have loved the event more. Granted I was the youngest person at the venue, but I am pretty sure I was also the happiest.
HE IS JUST SO DAD-GUM JOVIAL
Truth is I have always loved his music and I know many of his songs word for word but I didn’t know him, who he was, who he is. I thought, from the few glimpses I had gotten of him performing on stage over the years, that he was gay. What man smiles that much, is that happy, and that full of energy and isn’t gay? Of course I just stereotyped gays because that was what I initially thought gays were supposed to be like back before I had ever met a gay person. That is how “society” had come up with gay being the word for male homosexuals right? Turns out that a person’s spirited disposition has nothing to do with his sexual preferences. He has a wife, kids, and grand kids and he is literally just happy happy happy. You can tell because it is in his music. Even the sad songs are full of hope and love.
HE HAS TALENT OUT THE WHAZOO
When you hear the name Neil Sedaka most people who have heard of him automatically think of songs like Oh! Carol (written for an ex high school girlfriend Carol King then Klein), or Laughter in the Rain, Breaking Up is Hard to Do, or Love Will Keep Us Together. I didn’t realize until I saw him perform that he was first and foremost a classic concert pianist. He went to prep school at Juilliard when he was only nine with a full ride scholarship. He is simply brilliant. I had the honor of getting to see him perform his piano concerto “Manhattan Intermezzo” with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra.
You want to see all the many, many, many other things he has written you can peruse them here.
HE IS AN AWESOME GRANDPA
I read this article about how he re-wrote some of his songs and turned them into a Children’s CD and coloring book. He was interviewed about this endeavor and this was my favorite question and answer:
GP: Would you ever encourage them to pursue a career in entertainment?
NS: Whatever makes them happy. You can’t force a child. I started playing piano very early. My parents tell me that I wouldn’t eat unless the radio was playing music. I showed musical aptitude at a very early age. I would say my grandchildren should do what makes them happy.
I think he likes his vodka. He has a sense of humor because he said most of his melodies start with Vodka. He sat at the piano and reached for his drink and then looked at the Orchestra and said, “I don’t think this is Vodka.”
What amazes me about Neil Sedaka is that he is an amazing collaborator. When the examiner asked him about his diversified career he said, “It’s not easy, but you do things not out of commerciality, but things that are close to your heart. I’ve done a classical album with lyrics I wrote to Rachmaninov and Chopin melodies [and other composers’, on Classically Sedaka], an album of Christmas songs, a Yiddish album, an album of children’s songs.” He has had numerous singer/songwriter collaborations some being with, Howard Greenfield and Phil Cody, he penned hits written for Connie Francis, Carpenters, Captain And Tennille etc. After the Beatles caused his career to stall Elton John breathed new life into Neil’s singing career in the mid-70’s and signed him to his new Rocket Record Co. label where he sang “Bad Blood”.
Thanks to Twindaddy here are a few other 25 days, 25 songs posts: