Neil Sedaka was born on March 13, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York. He is one of the most successful singer/songwriters of the rock era. He studied piano since he was a kid in elementary school. Neil formed a songwriting partnership with Howard Greenfield while attending Lincoln High School. That partnership lasted over 20 years. Neil attended the famed Juillard School for classical piano. He recorded with The Tokens on Melba Records in 1956.
In December of 1958 Neil charted his first hit record on the Billboard Hot 100. The song became an instant hit and lead the way for 30 other records to grace the Billboard Pop and Adult Contemporary charts. THE DIARY on RCA Victor records, became a Top 20 hit, charting at #14. He would follow-up with I GO APE in March of 1959. Late in 1959 Neil Sedaka charted his first Billboard Hot 100, Top 10 hit, the classic, OH CAROL, a record that climbed to #9 on the Hot 100
In March of 1960 he charted a song that was written by Neil and Howard Greenfield. That song was, STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. The record became an immediate hit and charted at #9 on the Hot 100, just as OH CAROL did. The single remained on the chart for 15 weeks and ultimatley became a fan favorite. Neil crossed over to the Billboard R&B chart, where his record became the #16 hit single. STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN was at that time his highest charting R&B hit. Only BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO in 1962 would become a bigger R&B hit, as it charted at #12.
The flip side of the single was the dreamy ballad, FORTY WINKS AWAY, it did not chart. Neil Sedaka would continue to have hit after hit through 1963. In 1974 he would sign with Elton John’s new Rocket Records label, where he would record such classics as LAUGHTER IN THE RAIN-#1 in 1974, BAD BLOOD-#1 in 1975 and a re-make of his 1962 classic BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO. The new version would be a ballad. It would chart at #8, the original version was a #1 hit in 1962.
Till the next time—Joe