Neil Sedaka is an American singer and songwriter who began his career to most observers on the Dick Clark American Bandstand. His early upbringing in Brooklyn sounds like a miracle prodigy story, and it really was. In the second grade, Sedaka’s teacher sent a note home that he should take up piano, so his mother got a part-time department store job for six weeks to get an upright.
In 1947 at the age of eight, he auditioned for a place in the Julliard School of Music’s preparatory division for children and was successfully accepted.
After Sedaka graduated from high school he, and a few of his classmates formed a band called “The Tokens” who eventually had a hit called, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” however without Sedaka.
Sedaka formed a partnership with a friend, Howard Greenfield and the two wrote many hits for others. Sedaka in the meantime had several attempts at solo records, which initially did not get very far. His first attempts “Ring-a-Rockin'”. “Oh, Delilah!” and “Laura Lee” did not become hits, but “Ring-a-Rockin'” got him an appearance on American Bandstand.
With his appearance on Bandstand he was able to sign with RCA Victor, and his first single, “The Diary” was a Connie Francis inspiration, who was the most important client of Sedaka and Greenfield. The song got to number 15 on the top 100 of Billboard and Neil Sedaka was on his way.
Everyone who grew up in the 60’s remembers Sedaka’s signature song of “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” “Oh Carol,” his first top 10 hit, and “Calendar Girl.”
Sedaka’s double voiced songs were a novelty at the time, also used by Les Paul and Mary Ford, but Sedaka worked hard at producing a finished product that was flawless with a great beat, and the teenagers loved it.
Sedaka also wrote for other artists such as Connie Francis and Jimmy Clanton, and many others as well, penning “Stupid Cupid” and “Where The Boys Are” for Francis and “What Am I Gonna Do” for Clanton.