Neil Sedaka with the San Diego Symphony at Embarcadero Marine Park

| August 1, 2012 | 0 Comments

It’s hard to imagine that Neil Sedaka is not yet a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He’s a consummate singer, pianist and especially a composer. If I included the entire list of Sedaka’s hits, and the singers and bands who have recorded them, there would be no room for Charlotte Tenney’s herbal column, or George Mitrovich’s politics. Sedaka has written and co-written more than 500 songs for artists including Connie Francis, The Carpenters, The Fifth Dimension, The Captain & Tennille and many more. Relive the days at the top of the charts with “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” “Calendar Girl,” “Where the Boys Are,” “Solitaire” and “Love Will Keep Us Together” in two shows at the Embarcadero Marine Park South on Friday, August 10 and Saturday, August 11 at 7:30. Sedaka will be backed up by the stellar San Diego Symphony for a show of 50 years of hit songs.

The history of American rock and roll music would be incomplete without the countless contributions of Neil Sedaka. He’s written, performed and produced, as well as inspired innumerable songs, and his work will continue to stand up over the next 50 years. Sedaka rocketed to fame after Connie Francis recorded his song “Stupid Cupid,” and subsequently sang the Sedaka penned theme song from the 1960 classic movie “Where the Boys Are,” which turned out to be Francis’s biggest hit. R&B stars Clyde McPhatter and La Vern Baker also scored hits with Sedaka songs, and as a result, Sedaka was signed to RCA as a writer and performer of his own songs. What followed was a huge string of hits that went to the top of the charts: “The Diary,” “Oh, Carol,” “Calendar Girl,” “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen,” and “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.” (And you remember every one of them, don’t you?) Sedaka’s songs became special to millions of listeners, and even today, they can take you back to certain special moments in your life. His songs were known for his style of multi-tracking his own voice to achieve a rich and full sound.

Neil Sedaka performs for San Diegans.
Photo courtesy of NeilSedaka.com.

In 1964, when the Beatles launched the British Invasion, it could have spelled the end for Sedaka’s career, as it became very hard for many solo male artists to continue their work in the shadow of the quartets who were taking up all the air in the room. Sedaka prevailed by his many talents as a songwriter, and penned hit songs for the Monkees, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, the Fifth Dimension, Elvis, Tom Jones, Petula Clark, the Beach Boys – the list goes on and on.

Sedaka began a second phase of his career when Elton John signed him to Rocket Records in 1972, and the hits kept coming. The two albums he recorded for Rocket, “Sedaka’s Back,” and “The Hungry Years,” both were top selling albums around the world. His song “Laughter in the Rain” became number one, as did “Breaking Up is Hard to Do.” The accolades he has received are numerous. He’s been inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, was given a star on Hollywood Boulevard, won the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting and won the British Guinness Award for “(Is This) The Way to Amarillo?”), the best-selling single of the 21st Century in England.

Still, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland has eluded Sedaka. There are thousands of his fans who are trying to convince the board of the Hall of Fame to induct him, and you can add your signature to the effort by going to www.sedaka.be where you will find an online petition signed by nearly 15,000 people. You can register your support in person, with your applause, at both shows at Embarcadero Marine Park. Tickets range from $30 for lawn seats, $45 for grandstand and $85 for Cabaret seats. For tickets see www.sandiegosymphony.org/calendar/.

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Category: Music

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