Neil Sedaka

“As I finished, the crowd went wild -- the students exploded into something resembling a large-scale riot .... For a few moments, the sissy was a hero." -- Neil Sedaka (after performing at a high school talent show)
Neil Sedaka was a product of the Julliard School of Music in New York City, trained in classical music. But as was the case with most teenagers in the mid 1950's, he was drawn to the new sound of rock and roll. A neighbor heard his piano playing and suggested he get together with her son, Howie Greenfield, who was something of a poet, and the two write songs together. The two wrote a song titled "Mr. Moon" which Sedaka sang at a high school talent show. That led to forming a group, The Tokens. The group had some local success, but parted ways in 1957 -- The Tokens would go on to recording success of their own with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in 1961. Eventually the writing duo caught the ear of Al Nevins and Don Kirshner at Aldon Music and the Sedaka and Greenfield became part of the "Brill Building" music writing consortium. Their first success came when Connie Francis was looking for a new single and was attracted to "Stupid Cupid" which became a #14 hit. Shortly thereafter, Sedaka decided he wanted to record his own material and "The Diary" was released. Following that success, "Oh Carol," written about fellow Brill Building writer and high school classmate, Carole King, became Sedaka's first top ten record. Sedaka had his biggest hit with "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" which went to #1 on August 11, 1962. But then came The Beatles, and the pop style of Neil Sedaka waned in popularity. Sedaka did enjoy continued success in Australia, and then in the mid 1970's returned to the pop charts with "Laughter In The Rain" (#1, 1974) and "Bad Blood" (#1, 1975), a slow version of "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" (#8, 1976) and a duet with his 17 year old daughter, "Should've Never Let You Go" (#17, 1980). He also had continued writing success with songs such as "Love Will Keep Us Together," a #1 song by The Captain & Tenille in 1975, and "Solitaire" by The Carpenters (#17, 1975).

 

title week debuted highest ranking weeks on chart
The Diary 12/28/1958 14 9
Oh Carol 10/26/1959 9 13
Stairway to Heaven 4/18/1960 9 9
You Mean Everything To Me 8/29/1960 17 9
Run, Samson Run 10/3/1960 28 3
Calendar Girl 12/31/1960 4 12
Little Devil 5/8/1961 11 7
Happy Birthday Sweet 16 11/27/1961 6 11
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do 7/7/1962 1 12
Next Door To An Angel 10/20/1962 5 9
Alice In Wonderland 2/16/1963 17 7
Let s Go Steady Again 5/18/1963 26 5
Bad Girl 12/7/1963 33 4