Follow TV Tropes


Music / Neil Sedaka

Go To

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.
  • Ascended Extra: His backing band on the albums Solitaire and The Tra-La Days Are Over renamed themselves 10cc and became stars shortly afterwards.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: In "Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen", the narrator sings about being attracted to his childhood friend now that she turned 16.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: His own version of his song "Stupid Cupid", which was originally performed by Connie Francis.
  • Advertisement:
  • 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 (as well as #1 adult contemporary) in 1976.
  • The '50s: When he began his pop music career (1957).
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" is a cheerful-souding song about the pain of breaking up. The later slower and darker cover is a better match.
  • Obsession Song: "Betty Grable", although a pretty benign and innocent one.
  • 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.
  • Re-release 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 early single "Laura Lee"/"Snowtime" goes even farther, with Sedaka becoming his own vocal quartet.
  • The '70s: 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".
  • The '60s: 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 Billboard Hot 100, making him the first solo artist to reach the Top 10 with two different versions of the same song. note  This version also hit #1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart.
  • 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.
  • 12-Bar Blues:
    • "Stupid Cupid", popularised by Connie Francis.
  • Used to Be a Tomboy: The subject of "Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen".
    What happened to that funny face
    My little tomboy now wears satins and lace