He wrote songs that tell a story and touch our hearts long before Billy Joel started and he plays classical piano and embraces the audience in the manner Liberace did. This is Neil Sedaka !!!
Last night we went to a FABULOUSLY entertaining concert in Ocean Grove’s Great Auditorium. Neil Sedaka performed and he is truly the ultimate entertainer. He LOVES the audience and they love him. Really, what’s not to love? The man steps onto to the stage blowing kisses to the crowd!
Prior to his stage appearance, we are shown clips of one great performer after another singing hit songs that Neil Sedaka wrote and they recorded. His songs were sung by the likes of Elvis Presley, Elton John, Cher, Frank Sinatra, Patsy Cline, Rosemary Clooney, Tom Jones, Captain and Tenille, JUST to name a few.
Of course, the average age of the crowd was just perfect for him because we all knew all of the songs he played and sang. He’s energetic, jumping up after each song and relating anecdotes replete with humor and wit, and he even does a few dance steps with some of the songs. That might not sound like such a big deal but he is 75 years old and his voice is amazingly strong and clear. He belts out a song as well as anybody 40 years younger AND of course you can actually understand what he’s saying.
He’s a classically trained musician; he went to Juilliard in New York. His parents were not exactly thrilled when they realized he was writing pop music songs and singing them too! Early on he sold his first song and was hooked. Obviously song-writing comes easily to him – he has written 800 songs!
Mr. Sedaka gave us what we came for; he crooned all the oldies we know so well. We were treated to OH CAROL, BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO, SOLITAIRE, CALENDAR GIRL, LAUGHTER IN THE RAIN, EARTH ANGEL, TEARS ON MY PILLOW, WHERE THE BOYS ARE, YOUR PRECIOUS LOVE, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET SIXTEEN, NEXT DOOR TO AN ANGEL and so many more. The crowd went wild and applauded loudly at the beginning chords of each hit song.
Neil Sedaka told us he sold 40 Million records between 1958-1963 and then asked the audience what did we think happened in 1963? The answer was pretty obvious to all of us and in a chorus we called out – “The Beatles”! His response, “NOT GOOD”!! The advent of the Beatles and the British Invasion was the demise of the Sedaka sound. For the next 12 years, he was virtually retired, working somewhat in England. It was there that he met Elton John, a BIG Sedaka fan, and who was thrilled to sign Neil Sedaka to his recording company, Rocket Records. This event heralded the comeback of Sedaka.
As the evening wound down, although the songs never did, Mr. Sedaka regaled the crowd with a stunning example of his piano virtuosity. He played a beautiful piece of symphonic classical music, thrilling the audience once again with his talents. He is one fantastic entertainer, we enjoyed every single minute of this performance.
I’m amending this blog post because I found a YOUtube video of Neil Sedaka singing one of his newer songs. THIS is real love song, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have listening to it over and over.