Neil Sedaka (born March 13,1939) is a singer/songwriter
active from 1957. He mostly writes his own songs and frequently collaborates with lyricists Howard Greenfield and Phil Cody.
He has written many well-known songs including "Stupid Cupid
" (sung by Connie Francis), "Is This the Way to Amarillo
" (sung by Tony Christie), "Love Will Keep Us Together" by Captain & Tennille, and "Oh! Carol
" and "Breaking Up is Hard to Do
" (sung by himself).
Neil Sedaka provides examples of:
- All Jews Are Ashkenazi: Partial aversion, as his father was Turkish-Jewish. His last name is clearly a non-Ashkenazi name, being a variation on the Hebrew tz'daka ‘charity’.
- Answer Song: "Oh Neil!" was Carole King's answer to "Oh! Carol"; the pair dated briefly and remained good friends for decades after.
- Bo Diddley Beat: "Bad Blood".
- Break Up Song: "Breaking Up is Hard to Do".
- Call Back: "Our Last Song Together", which really was the final song Sedaka wrote with Howard Greenfield, is loaded with lyrical references to Sedaka's early hits.
- Caught in the Rain: "Laughter in the Rain".
- The Cover Changes The Gender: His own version of his song "Stupid Cupid", which was originally performed by Connie Francis.
- The Cover Changes The Meaning: The Softer And Slower Cover of his own "Breaking Up is Hard to Do." The original was an uptempo look at a broken teen romance; the 1976 ballad version was a reflection years later of that same breakup, and realizing there was still a lot of good that could be taken from that relationship from years earlier. Both were major hits – No. 1 in 1962, top 10 in 1976.
- Comic Relief: Composer of the song from 2005 "Is This The Way To Amarillo", mimed by Peter Kay.
- Doo Wop Progression: "Oh! Carol".
- The Fifties: When he began his pop music career (1957).
- Groupie Brigade: "Queen of 1964", about an old groupie who used to claim, amongst other things, that she once 'had' Mick Jagger (getting a kick and a black eye from Bianca Jagger for it).
- Larynx Dissonance: Has a very high tenor timbre, especially obvious in "Laughter in the Rain".
- Love Goddess: In "Stupid Cupid".
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" is a cheerful-souding song about the pain of breaking up. The later Softer And Slower cover is a better match.
- Name's the Same: Believe it or not, Led Zeppelin's quintessential hit was not the first song to be entitled "Stairway to Heaven". Eleven years earlier, in 1960, Sedaka also recorded a song with that title. Interestingly enough, Sedaka's song managed to hit number nine on the Billboard charts — while Led Zeppelin's song never even hit the charts, as it was never released as a single.
- Obsession Song: "Betty Grable", although a pretty benign and innocent one.
- One Woman Song: "Oh! Carol".
- Precision F-Strike: "The bitch is in her smile" from "Bad Blood". Fairly mild, but still shocking coming from a guy with such a clean-cut image.
- Rearrange the Song: "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do".
- Rerelease the Song: The first version of "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" is fast and upbeat. The re-released version is a Softer And Slower Cover.
- Secret Diary: "The Diary", which is about the singer wanting to look into a girl's diary to see if she writes about him in it. The song was written after he asked Connie Francis (who he wrote songs for) for permission to see her diary for inspiration and she refused.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: He sang harmony with himself very often in his early days. Examples can be heard "Breaking Up is Hard to Do", "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen", "Little Devil", "Samson and Delilah" and "Our Last Song Together".
- The Seventies: When he emerged from his hiatus and had a revival in popularity.
- She Is All Grown Up: Subject of the song "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen" and "Next Door To an Angel".
- Silly Love Songs
- Similarly Named Works: "Stairway to Heaven", long before Led Zeppelin's song of the same name.
- The Sixties: When some of his well-known songs came out. Took a hiatus when The Beatles emerged.
- Softer And Slower Cover: In 1976, he released a slow ballad version of his 1962 hit "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do". It reached No. 8 on the charts, making him the first artist to reach the Top 10 with two different versions of the same song.
- Tenor Boy
- Title Only Chorus: "Betty Grable".
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: In many of his songs.
- "Hey Little Devil", from F major to G-flat (or F-sharp) major at the end.
- In Tony Christie's version of "Amarillo", the last chorus goes from A major to B-flat major.
- Twelve Bar Blues: "Stupid Cupid", popularised by Connie Francis.