Neil SedakaPop | 2006
Neil Sedaka was born in Brooklyn in 1939. A natural musician, he was accepted to Juilliard School of Music’s Preparatory Division for Children at the tender age of eight. When he was 13, he met 16-year-old neighbor and aspiring lyricist Howard Greenfield. The two formed the doo-wop group The Tokens in 1960 and became one of the original creators of the “Brill Building” sound in the late 1950s and early 1960s when they were the first to sign with Don Kirshner and Al Nevins at Aldon Music. They released a number of singles on their own, but it was when their song “Stupid Cupid” was covered by Connie Francis that the string of successes began. As a solo artist, Sedaka released a self-titled debut album that was nominated for a 1959 Grammy Award for Best Performance by a “Top 40” Artist. By 1963, Sedaka reportedly had sold 25 million records worldwide. Sedaka retreated from the music scene in the mid-60s when The Beatles arrived in America, launching the British Invasion, but he had a comeback in the mid-70s with the help of new collaborator Phil Cody and long-time supporter Elton John. The two albums he recorded for John’s Rocket label, Sedaka’s Back in 1974 and The Hungry Years in 1975, both became top-selling albums around the world, with “Bad Blood” and “Laughter in the Rain” reaching No. 1 on the music charts. With a career spanning six decades, Sedaka has been inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and also received the Sammy Kahn Lifetime Achievement Award.