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Posts Tagged ‘Neil Sedaka’

He wrote songs that tell a story and touch our hearts long before Billy Joel started and he plays classical piano and embraces the audience in the manner Liberace did. This is Neil Sedaka !!!

That Was Then

That Was Then

 

This Is Now

This Is Now

Last night we went to a FABULOUSLY entertaining concert in Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium.  Neil Sedaka performed and he is truly the ultimate entertainer. He LOVES the audience and they love him. Really, what’s not to love?  The man steps onto to the stage blowing kisses to the crowd!

 Prior to his stage appearance, we are shown clips of one great performer after another singing hit songs that Neil Sedaka wrote and they recorded. His songs were sung by the likes of Elvis Presley, Elton John, Cher, Frank Sinatra, Patsy Cline, Rosemary Clooney, Tom Jones, Captain and Tenille, JUST to name a few.

 Of course, the average age of the crowd was just perfect for him because we all knew all of the songs he played and sang. He’s energetic, jumping up after each song and relating anecdotes replete with humor and wit, and he even does a few dance steps with some of the songs. That might not sound like such a big deal but he is 75 years old and his voice is amazingly strong and clear. He belts out a song as well as anybody 40 years younger AND of course you can actually understand what he’s saying.

He’s a classically trained musician; he went to Juilliard in New York. His parents were not exactly thrilled when they realized he was writing pop music songs and singing them too! Early on he sold his first song and was hooked. Obviously song-writing comes easily to him – he has written 800 songs!

 Mr. Sedaka gave us what we came for; he crooned all the oldies we know so well. We were treated to OH CAROL, BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO, SOLITAIRE, CALENDAR GIRL, LAUGHTER IN THE RAIN, EARTH ANGEL, TEARS ON MY PILLOW, WHERE THE BOYS ARE, YOUR PRECIOUS LOVE, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET SIXTEEN, NEXT DOOR TO AN ANGEL and so many more.  The crowd went wild and applauded loudly at the beginning chords of each hit song.

 Neil Sedaka told us he sold 40 Million records between 1958-1963 and then asked the audience what did we think happened in 1963? The answer was pretty obvious to all of us and in a chorus we called out – “The Beatles”! His response, “NOT GOOD”!! The advent of the Beatles and the British Invasion was the demise of the Sedaka sound. For the next 12 years, he was virtually retired, working somewhat in England. It was there that he met Elton John, a BIG Sedaka fan, and who was thrilled to sign Neil Sedaka to his recording company, Rocket Records. This event heralded the comeback of Sedaka.

 As the evening wound down, although the songs never did, Mr. Sedaka regaled the crowd with a stunning example of his piano virtuosity. He played a beautiful piece of symphonic classical music, thrilling the audience once again with his talents. He is one fantastic entertainer, we enjoyed every single minute of this performance.

I’m amending this blog post because I found a YOUtube video of Neil Sedaka singing one of his newer songs.  THIS is real love song, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have listening to it over and over.

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American singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka. Taken ...

American singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka. Taken at the 2007 Scream Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you hear someone say, “Neil Sedaka,”  what do you think of?  I believe most people think of some 50’s simplistic Rock and Roll tune, like  the happy-go-lucky-even-if-slightly-naieve, Next Door To An Angel.  If that’s what you’re thinking, then please read on because  the next time you hear  the name, Neil Sedaka, you’re going to think twice. NO, not twice more like somewhere between 300-500 – that’s how many songs he wrote.  Neil Sedaka is a consummate composer.  I tried to do some quick research and find the answer to this burning question – just how many songs did Neil Sedaka write and/or cowrite?  I found a list of about 270 titles and in Wikipedia, it says he wrote 500.  Either way, it’s one hell of a lot of musical talent.

Neil Sedaka was playing the piano when he was eight years old.  When he was in high school in Brooklyn, NY he formed a Doo Wop group with now-famous classmates, known as The Tokens.  He was accepted into the prestigious Julliard School of Music in Manhattan, where his parents hoped he would become a concert pianist.  He is a concert pianist, he just doesn’t perform as one – believe me he plays beautifully as he demonstrated tonight at the end of his concert.

BUT tonight’s concert inspired this blog, not so much as a review of his performance but rather more as an homage to his enduring creative talent, a God-given gift (his words).  I wanted to use the word, genius, however, genius connotes (to me anyway) a talent at an extraordinary  level.  Maybe he is composing at an extraordinary level and I don’t recognize it because he makes it seem so easy.   As he said; he sits at the piano, comes up with a tempo, then a melody and then lyrics.  Sounds simple, right?  NOT!  

For me, this evening was yet another trip down nostalgia lane.  Oh those songs!  I think I sat there with a lump in my throat for most of the evening and a couple brought tears to my eyes.  The love songs had lyrics that pluck at your heart-strings.  I guess when you’re a woman of a certain age you can’t help but remember where you were, who you were with and when.  I can’t tell you what I had for dinner 4 nights ago, but I knew every word to every song!  Scary isn’t it?  And most of all I think his lyrics tell it like it is. Mr. Sedaka said that he drew inspiration for his songs from his family and friends.  And the he told us he has been married to the lovely Leba, his wife of 50 years.  She must truly be the love of his life – how else could one feel and express such emotion.  From heartbreak to regrets, to wishing and dreaming of true love, and  from longing to loving forever, the music plays on, the romance continues and all in words you can clearly understand and remember!  

The following are just a few of the songs performed this evening:

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Love Will Keep Us Together

Laughter In The Rain

And also the sad but very real Solitaire, Lonely Night, Should Have Never Let You Go, I Let You Walk Away.   The lyrics are haunting.  Often at a concert, the performer introduces some new song they’ve written or recorded and I have mostly been disappointed.  Not so tonight.  Neil Sedaka is still writing songs and sang one from a few years ago, You.  Now that’s a love song!  It had to appeal to the large majority of middle-age couples and seniors in the audience.  It is a story of the lifetime love between two people, very sweet. I loved it!

Neil Sedaka has been writing and singing songs for over 55 years.  The list is way too long for this blog, for as he said tonight, “I’ve a got a million”.  However, so many of the songs were hits and released many times over by various artists, I think you’ll know every one of them:

Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen

Earth Angel

Carol

Alone At Last

Angel Eyes

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Cathy’s Clown

It’s All In The Game

Climb Up (Stairway to Heaven)

Proud Mary

Stagger Lee

Tears On My Pillow

The Diary

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