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Overview for Neil Sedaka
Neil Sedaka

Neil Sedaka


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>The Tra-La Days Are Over for its MGM subsidiary. The record went unreleased in America, but two singles, "Standing on the Inside" and "Our Last Song Together," broke the Top 40 in the U.K. The latter track also represented his final collaboration with Greenfield, whom he had left in order to work with a new co-writer, Phil Cody. A second album, Laughter in the Rain (1974), produced another pair of Top 40 hits with the extremely popular title track and "A Little Lovinâ¿¿."

That same year, Sedaka met Elton John, who signed him to his new label, Rocket Records, for distribution in the United States. Their first release, Sedakaâ¿¿s Back (1974), compiled songs from his three European releases, including "Laughter in the Rain," which surprised many by topping the charts in 1975. Two more tracks from the record, "The Immigrant" and "Thatâ¿¿s When the Music Takes Me," broke the Top 40 and cemented Sedakaâ¿¿s return to prominence in his native country. His career as a songwriter also received its strongest returns since the 1960s, with such acts as the Captain & Tennille landing a No. 1 hit with "Love Will Keep Us Together" and later "Sad Eyes," which also gave Andy Williams and Maria Muldaur hits in 1975 and 1977, respectively. He was soon generating strong reviews for his opening spot on a national tour with the Carpenters and landing a second No. 1 hit with 1975â¿¿s "Bad Blood," which featured uncredited backing vocals by his label chief, Elton John. The following year, Sedaka scored a Top 10 hit with a slower take on his 1962 hit, "Breaking Up is Hard to Do." Its success, which included a Grammy nomination, made him the first artist to hit the Top 10 twice with different versions of the same tune.

The 1976 album Steppinâ¿¿ Out ended Sedakaâ¿¿s tenure at Rocket Records. Though it produced three chart hits, including the title track and "You Gotta Make Your Own Sunshine," it did not repeat the blockbuster success of its predecessor, which marked the beginning of Sedakaâ¿¿s second slide down the charts. Albums for Elektra delivered modest hits, though a 1977 cover of "You Never Done It Like That" was a smash again for Captain & Tennille. A 1980 duet with his teenaged daughter, Dara, on "Shouldâ¿¿ve Never Let You Go" marked his last visit to the Top 20. By the following year, he had left Elektra for MCA/Curb, where he moved firmly into the Adult Contemporary market. In 1985, he was dropped by Curb, leaving him again without a label. For much of the next decade, Sedaka worked as a headliner on the casino circuit while issuing self-produced new records, as well as re-recordings of older material, throughout the 1990s. In 1995, he released Classically Sedaka, an album of classical themes to which he added new lyrics. A jazz record, Tales of Love and Other Passions, followed in 1997, while Brighton Beach Memories: Neil Sedaka Sings Yiddish hit stores in 2003.

In 2004, Sedakaâ¿¿s catalog received a boost when "American Idol" (Fox, 2002- ) runner-up Clay Aiken recorded a cover of "Solitaire" which reached the top of the Billboard singles charts. In 2006, Sedaka was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records after British comedian Peter Kay recorded a version of the song with a variety of celebrity friends for the Comic Relief charity. The single became a massive hit, prompting a reissue of Tony Christieâ¿¿s cover from 1971, which also went to No. 1 for seven weeks. The song became the biggest hit in England for the year, and landed Sedaka in the Guinness Book for composing the most successful U.K. single (to date) of the 21st century. Sedaka returned to the American charts in 2007 after signing with the independent music label Razor and Tie. Their first joint effort, The Definitive Collection (2007), presented an overview of his entire career as a singer and songwriter, along with unreleased tracks and outtakes. The record rose to No. 25 on the Billboard albums chart, which marked his highest placement in the States since 1980. Two more CDs, including an album of childrenâ¿¿s songs, soon followed. Sedakaâ¿¿s exceptional history was also feted in 2007 with a celebration at Lincoln Center in New York, which featured performances by Aiken, Natalie Cole and Connie Francis.

By Paul Gaitan 1959, earned a Grammy nomination, and he scored five Top 10 singles between 1959 and 1962, including "Stairway to Heaven" (no relation to the Led Zeppelin song of the same name), "Calendar Girl" and the Grammy-nominated "Breaking Up is Hard to Do," which shot him to the top of the charts in 1962. He also continued to mine gold from his songwriting efforts with Greenfield, most notably for LaVern Baker with the single "I Waited Too Long;" Clyde McPhatter of the Drifters with "Since Youâ¿¿ve Been Gone;" Jimmy Clanton with "Another Sleepless Night," "Venus in Blue Jeans" and "What Am I Gonna Do;" Bobby Darin with "Keep a Walkinâ¿¿;" and Francis, who earned another Top 5 hit with the "Theme from â¿¿Where the Boys Areâ¿¿" in 1960. Sedakaâ¿¿s fan base also extended to Japan and Italy, where "Oh! Carol" reached No. 1. To satisfy his international audience, he eventual recorded songs in Spanish, German, Japanese, Italian and Hebrew.

By 1963, Sedaka had sold over 25 million records worldwide. But the arrival of The Beatles signaled a shift in music listenersâ¿¿ tastes from pop to harder rock-n-roll, and artists like Sedaka soon saw a marked decline in their chart performances. Only three of the nine singles he released between 1964 and 1966 broke into the Top 100, and his career suffered a further blow when RCA refused to release "It Hurts to Be in Love" because he had recorded it outside of their studios. The track was sold to Gene Pitney, who replaced Sedakaâ¿¿s vocals with his own and scored a No. 7 hit in 1964. RCA eventually dropped Sedaka from their roster in 1966. Though his singing career had faltered, Sedaka continued to earn hits through his songwriting efforts with Greenfield. Screen Gems had purchased their publishing company, Aldon Music, which resulted in two hit singles, "Love Comes Knockinâ¿¿ (At Your Door)" and "The Girl I Left Behind Me," for their priority project, The Monkees. He would later pen hits for such music acts as The Cyrkle with "We Had a Good Thing Going," the 5th Dimension with "Workinâ¿¿ on a Groovy Thing," Tom Jones with "Puppet Man," Peggy Lee with "One More Ride on the Merry-Go-Round," and Frankie Valli with "Make the Music Play."

The emergence of the adult contemporary sound, as personified by such singer-songwriters as Carole King and James Taylor in the early 1970s, brought renewed interest to Sedakaâ¿¿s career as a singer. Regular visits to England and the U.K. had built a strong core audience for him in those countries, and by 1971, he had signed with Kirshner Records, an RCA imprint owned by his old publishing boss, Don Kirshner. The resulting album, Emergence (1971), failed to win chart glory, but it did bring Sedaka back to the public consciousness. A string of hits for artists on both sides of the Atlantic, including Carol Burnett with "If I Could Write a Song," Cher with "Donâ¿¿t Hide Your Love," and Tony Christie with "Is This the Way to Amarillo" further increased his exposure to new audiences.

Sedaka moved to the U.K. in 1972, where he began work on a new album, Solitaire, with a team of English musicians who would later gain fame as the band 10cc, best known for their hit "Iâ¿¿m Not in Love." The albumâ¿¿s title track became one of the most popular songs in Sedakaâ¿¿s expansive catalog, generating Top 20 hits for Andy Williams and the Carpenters and covers by Elvis Presley and Johnny Mathis. Glen Campbell also scored a hit with the track "Thatâ¿¿s When the Music Takes Me," while Donny Gerard and Yvonne Elliman found success with "(Baby) Donâ¿¿t Let it Mess With Your Mind." The success of these recordings led to Sedaka signing with the European label Polydor, where he recorded 1973â¿¿s

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