Off Topic Messages

Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:23 am

Just a few weeks shy of his seventy-fifth birthday, BBC4 tonight paid tribute to Neil Sedaka with a new documentary and the showing of a TV special from the early 1980s. Sedaka is problematic for many because of his bouncy, happy, cheesy and often saccharine performing persona, but there appears to be considerably more grit and determination than anyone could imagine beneath the surface. As is well-documented, he had to fight to get his own recording contract in the first place, resorted to playing small clubs and jobbing as a session musician when the Beatles changed the US charts forever, but determination, talent and the willingness to change styles saw him being taken seriously as an adult singer-songwriter by the mid-1970s.

Sedaka is, without doubt, a highly talented man who is still going strong despite being in his mid-70s. I saw him perform a couple of years ago, and he was on stage for two hours, debuting his twenty-minute piano concerto, Manhattan Intermezzo, as part of the show. He also performed a number of new songs, some of which were as good as anything he had written during his prime. But most of the night was an unabashed tribute to himself. He had a hand in writing each and every song he performed. He picked up a sheet from the top of the piano at one point and said “I’ve written so many songs, I don’t know which ones to sing”. Whether this man who has 800 songs to his name was being big headed or simply honest was hard to tell.

Of course he made his name writing and recording catchy little rock n roll songs such as Oh Carol, Breaking Up is Hard to Do and Calendar Girl. That could have been his legacy were it not for his seemingly never-ending desire to achieve. In the late 1960s, when his popularity was at rock bottom, he was writing for artists as diverse as The Monkees and Peggy Lee. It was then he wrote what I consider to be one of his best songs, One More Ride on the Merry-go-Round. The song was picked up by Peggy Lee for one of her late Capitol albums, and Sedaka still performs it live.

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The album Emergence followed in 1970. Now viewed as one of Sedaka’s greatest moments, it didn’t do well on release, and then the Solitaire album followed in the UK in 1972. While Sedaka was regaining his popularity in Britain, in America it took Elton John and his Rocket label to kickstart the comeback there. The wonderful songs that Sedaka wrote and recorded during that second golden period arguably eclipse his “first career”: Laughter in the Rain, Solitaire, The Other Side of Me, Love Will Keep Us Together, Our Last Song Together, The Hungry Years. Perhaps best of all was the devastating album track Going Nowhere. Sedaka’s performance was stunning, but the wonders of Youtube have provided us with an unbelievable TV performance from the tragic Lena Zavaroni.

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While Sedaka’s star waned somewhat in the early 1980s, he still recorded a fine album of rock n roll covers, which features a fun romp through Stagger Lee.

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A new single late in the 1980s brought Sedaka more chart success with The Miracle Song, and a later album saw him providing new lyrics to classical melodies which was not only commercially successful but also at one point was fetching £100 for secondhand copies when it fell out of print for a while.

Since then, Sedaka has continued to tour and continued to put out mostly low-key albums. His new songs feature melodies as beautiful as anything he has written, and the wit of his lyrics (he now mostly writes his own) are often surprising caustic for a man who always seems so damned happy. As of fifteen months ago when I saw him in London, his voice has hardly changed at all, although the upper end of his range is slightly diminished. Sedaka’s hit single days may be long gone, but his recordings and, most of all, his songs will live on.

NB. From an Elvis point of view, it's a shame he didn't raid Sedaka's albums from the 70s for some material, as there are some real gems of songs hidden away on them, such as When You Were Lovin' Me, a song which seems to have Elvis written all over it, from the bluesy slow sections to the gospel-flavoured uptempo sections.

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Re: Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:37 am

"Laughter In The Rain" remains a glorious moment.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:13 am

I work in a casino and I was talking to a few of the younger ushers who work the shows, anyway I asked who put on the best performance. Mind you we've had Bruno Mars and some other top line performers at our venue, they said the best performance they saw was from Neil Sedaka.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:52 pm

Sedaka is wonderful.

Yeah, he's cheesier than the lining of a mouse's stomach - but he is a fabulous song writer, an amazing pianist and has a beautiful crystal clear voice.

I kinda like his bouncy, cheerful stage persona. I have seen him live many times and he has never failed to thoroughly entertain me.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:25 am

Always reminded me of Big Bird from Sesame Street ! true.....

Re: Neil Sedaka

Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:06 pm

Not many people know that Neil's 'Solitaire' album, was basically Neil backed by 10cc.


My fave Sedaka track:

Admittedly, the youtube audio representation does not do justice to the truly marvelous backing vocal provided by Neil himself.

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Re: Neil Sedaka

Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:31 pm

mike edwards66 wrote:Not many people know that Neil's 'Solitaire' album, was basically Neil backed by 10cc.




The follow-up (Tra-La Days are Over) was too. Emergence, Solitaire, Tra-La Days and Overnight Success are all available on CD now in the UK too.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:49 pm

I'm also a fan of Neil Sedaka and consider him to be nothing less than a brilliant musician, an excellent performer and a fine singer whose range is stellar and tone is truly captivating. I've also had the pleasure of seeing him in concert and enjoyed every moment of it -- and although he freely discusses the volume of songs he's written and the numerous hits he's had, I've never found Sedaka to be arrogant or conceited, but very proud of his achievements and passionate to a fault about music. In recent years he's also become quite sentimental and prone to becoming overwhelmed when discussing certain songs or moments in his career; which is very endearing and has perhaps come with age and reflecting on quite a wonderful career. He still sounds great, though, and like Tony Bennett and Willie Nelson, may still have some good years and great music in him as he reaches seventy-five years-of-age. I thought The Real Neil was quite a wonderful album, in particular the evocative, Gershwinesque, Manhattan Intermezzo, whilst he has a keen ability to reinterpret familiar songs in new and acute ways. Which he's done for some years, in particular, his second version of Breaking Up is Hard to Do. I really enjoyed the new BBC documentary on his career and it was great to see his All You Need is the Music special again; he was on ace form here and seemed to be relishing every second.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:39 pm

greystoke wrote:I'm also a fan of Neil Sedaka and consider him to be nothing less than a brilliant musician, an excellent performer and a fine singer whose range is stellar and tone is truly captivating. I've also had the pleasure of seeing him in concert and enjoyed every moment of it -- and although he freely discusses the volume of songs he's written and the numerous hits he's had, I've never found Sedaka to be arrogant or conceited, but very proud of his achievements and passionate to a fault about music. In recent years he's also become quite sentimental and prone to becoming overwhelmed when discussing certain songs or moments in his career; which is very endearing and has perhaps come with age and reflecting on quite a wonderful career. He still sounds great, though, and like Tony Bennett and Willie Nelson, may still have some good years and great music in him as he reaches seventy-five years-of-age. I thought The Real Neil was quite a wonderful album, in particular the evocative, Gershwinesque, Manhattan Intermezzo, whilst he has a keen ability to reinterpret familiar songs in new and acute ways. Which he's done for some years, in particular, his second version of Breaking Up is Hard to Do. I really enjoyed the new BBC documentary on his career and it was great to see his All You Need is the Music special again; he was on ace form here and seemed to be relishing every second.


I hadn't seen the TV special before, and he was indeed very good - even if the overdose of mascara was a little off-putting! It was interesting to see him employing a harder edge to his sound as well, although the lead guitar did get a little intrusive in places. He continued with that harder sound on the Come See About Me album of rock n roll covers which, alas, has yet to see a CD release. But while the special was good, for me the definitive Sedaka performance was the Birmingham concert from 1991, in which he not only plays the hits but also some choice album tracks and is totally stunning (and is devoid of red suits and mascara).

It was interesting to see him get so emotional in the documentary talking about Solitaire and The Hungry Years, as it's a side of him that is rarely seen. I have to confess to bawling my eyes out every time I hear Going Nowhere - including at the concert eighteen months ago, which was a tad embarrassing. I listened to The Real Neil again yesterday as it happens, but can't say I'm as fond of it as yourself. using just the piano works for some songs but not for others. When the album is good it's very good, but I find it quite uneven - although I agree the classical piece is wonderful. When he was at the Royal Albert Hall he was with the Royal Philharmonic, and his sweeping melodies often benefit from that kind of lush sound.

I have to say I disagree with him about preferring other people's interpretations of Solitaire (and others) over his own. The TV special on Friday demonstrated only too well that the unique sound of his voice brings something quite special to his own versions. It's also worth saying that the version of Solitaire in that show was possibly the best I've heard him sing it.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:21 am

I enjoyed the BBC documentary too. You have to admire how persistent he was in trying to relaunch his career when things went a little sour in his home country.

There's something about him though that makes me wonder whether he's always being sincere. Perhaps that's unfair, but it's just a feeling.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:44 pm

poormadpeter wrote: But while the special was good, for me the definitive Sedaka performance was the Birmingham concert from 1991, in which he not only plays the hits but also some choice album tracks and is totally stunning (and is devoid of red suits and mascara).

Does he perform with a full band for this performance or just solo piano?

(Good thread btw.)

Re: Neil Sedaka

Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:14 pm

Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote: But while the special was good, for me the definitive Sedaka performance was the Birmingham concert from 1991, in which he not only plays the hits but also some choice album tracks and is totally stunning (and is devoid of red suits and mascara).

Does he perform with a full band for this performance or just solo piano?

(Good thread btw.)


He's with an orchestra on that occasion.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:11 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
greystoke wrote:I'm also a fan of Neil Sedaka and consider him to be nothing less than a brilliant musician, an excellent performer and a fine singer whose range is stellar and tone is truly captivating. I've also had the pleasure of seeing him in concert and enjoyed every moment of it -- and although he freely discusses the volume of songs he's written and the numerous hits he's had, I've never found Sedaka to be arrogant or conceited, but very proud of his achievements and passionate to a fault about music. In recent years he's also become quite sentimental and prone to becoming overwhelmed when discussing certain songs or moments in his career; which is very endearing and has perhaps come with age and reflecting on quite a wonderful career. He still sounds great, though, and like Tony Bennett and Willie Nelson, may still have some good years and great music in him as he reaches seventy-five years-of-age. I thought The Real Neil was quite a wonderful album, in particular the evocative, Gershwinesque, Manhattan Intermezzo, whilst he has a keen ability to reinterpret familiar songs in new and acute ways. Which he's done for some years, in particular, his second version of Breaking Up is Hard to Do. I really enjoyed the new BBC documentary on his career and it was great to see his All You Need is the Music special again; he was on ace form here and seemed to be relishing every second.


I hadn't seen the TV special before, and he was indeed very good - even if the overdose of mascara was a little off-putting! It was interesting to see him employing a harder edge to his sound as well, although the lead guitar did get a little intrusive in places. He continued with that harder sound on the Come See About Me album of rock n roll covers which, alas, has yet to see a CD release. But while the special was good, for me the definitive Sedaka performance was the Birmingham concert from 1991, in which he not only plays the hits but also some choice album tracks and is totally stunning (and is devoid of red suits and mascara).

It was interesting to see him get so emotional in the documentary talking about Solitaire and The Hungry Years, as it's a side of him that is rarely seen. I have to confess to bawling my eyes out every time I hear Going Nowhere - including at the concert eighteen months ago, which was a tad embarrassing. I listened to The Real Neil again yesterday as it happens, but can't say I'm as fond of it as yourself. using just the piano works for some songs but not for others. When the album is good it's very good, but I find it quite uneven - although I agree the classical piece is wonderful. When he was at the Royal Albert Hall he was with the Royal Philharmonic, and his sweeping melodies often benefit from that kind of lush sound.

I have to say I disagree with him about preferring other people's interpretations of Solitaire (and others) over his own. The TV special on Friday demonstrated only too well that the unique sound of his voice brings something quite special to his own versions. It's also worth saying that the version of Solitaire in that show was possibly the best I've heard him sing it.


My favourite recording of Solitaire is Sedaka's original version, although his live performances of the song were frequently as impressive. His rendition on All You Need is the Music is quite superlative, although I also like Karen Carpenter, Andy Williams and Elvis's recordings of this song. Carpenter's in particular; she was a magnificent singer whose diction and tone sounded so easy, but was frequently peppered with melancholy notes. Never more so than in her version of Solitaire, which is achingly sad. Elvis's version sounds darker because of his timbre and the shades present in his voice by 1976. Importantly, this was a song that challenged Elvis and found depths in his abilities that were often untapped by this stage. Vocally, his abilities were diminished in comparison to the Today sessions or December, 1973, at Stax, but his interpretive skills were good here and Elvis seemed to find something true in the lyric. It's a marvellous song.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:05 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote: But while the special was good, for me the definitive Sedaka performance was the Birmingham concert from 1991, in which he not only plays the hits but also some choice album tracks and is totally stunning (and is devoid of red suits and mascara).

Does he perform with a full band for this performance or just solo piano?

(Good thread btw.)


He's with an orchestra on that occasion.

Thanks for your reply.

As a result of your recommendation I have just purchased this show through Amazon. They also have another title listed from the Legends In Concert series covering a concert performed at the Jubilee Hall Canada, brand new for 80p + postage = £2.06 which appears to be a steal. I have looked on Youtube and it seems to be a great show. Do you know which year it was from? I'm guessing mid 70's?

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:44 pm

Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote: But while the special was good, for me the definitive Sedaka performance was the Birmingham concert from 1991, in which he not only plays the hits but also some choice album tracks and is totally stunning (and is devoid of red suits and mascara).

Does he perform with a full band for this performance or just solo piano?

(Good thread btw.)


He's with an orchestra on that occasion.

Thanks for your reply.

As a result of your recommendation I have just purchased this show through Amazon. They also have another title listed from the Legends In Concert series covering a concert performed at the Jubilee Hall Canada, brand new for 80p + postage = £2.06 which appears to be a steal. I have looked on Youtube and it seems to be a great show. Do you know which year it was from? I'm guessing mid 70's?


It's 1981 I think.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 22, 2014 1:57 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote: But while the special was good, for me the definitive Sedaka performance was the Birmingham concert from 1991, in which he not only plays the hits but also some choice album tracks and is totally stunning (and is devoid of red suits and mascara).
He's with an orchestra on that occasion.

Thanks for your reply.

As a result of your recommendation I have just purchased this show through Amazon. They also have another title listed from the Legends In Concert series covering a concert performed at the Jubilee Hall Canada, brand new for 80p + postage = £2.06 which appears to be a steal. I have looked on Youtube and it seems to be a great show. Do you know which year it was from? I'm guessing mid 70's?


It's 1981 I think.

Ok, that's good to know.

Do you rate this particular show or is there a good reason it's available at a giveaway price?

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 22, 2014 3:42 pm

Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote: But while the special was good, for me the definitive Sedaka performance was the Birmingham concert from 1991, in which he not only plays the hits but also some choice album tracks and is totally stunning (and is devoid of red suits and mascara).
He's with an orchestra on that occasion.

Thanks for your reply.

As a result of your recommendation I have just purchased this show through Amazon. They also have another title listed from the Legends In Concert series covering a concert performed at the Jubilee Hall Canada, brand new for 80p + postage = £2.06 which appears to be a steal. I have looked on Youtube and it seems to be a great show. Do you know which year it was from? I'm guessing mid 70's?


It's 1981 I think.

Ok, that's good to know.

Do you rate this particular show or is there a good reason it's available at a giveaway price?


I think it's just one of those things that have fallen into the public domain for one reason or another. That said, I don't like it much - Sedaka, for once, doesn't seem to be in great voice, and the production is rather cheesy. The production of All You Need Is The Music (the special myself and Greystoke discussed earlier) is also dated, but was made a couple of years later by which time Sedaka was considerably thinner than he had been for years and his voice was on top form. The Canada concert is still OK - especially for £2 - but certainly not Sedaka at his most engaging.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 22, 2014 7:10 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:Thanks for your reply.

As a result of your recommendation I have just purchased this show through Amazon. They also have another title listed from the Legends In Concert series covering a concert performed at the Jubilee Hall Canada, brand new for 80p + postage = £2.06 which appears to be a steal. I have looked on Youtube and it seems to be a great show. Do you know which year it was from? I'm guessing mid 70's?


It's 1981 I think.

Ok, that's good to know.

Do you rate this particular show or is there a good reason it's available at a giveaway price?


I think it's just one of those things that have fallen into the public domain for one reason or another. That said, I don't like it much - Sedaka, for once, doesn't seem to be in great voice, and the production is rather cheesy. The production of All You Need Is The Music (the special myself and Greystoke discussed earlier) is also dated, but was made a couple of years later by which time Sedaka was considerably thinner than he had been for years and his voice was on top form. The Canada concert is still OK - especially for £2 - but certainly not Sedaka at his most engaging.


Update: It has just arrived in the post today!

First of all it is put together in the form of a documentary, but crucially includes 15 full performances of songs between comments by Neil, his wife and other fans, which is great.

Secondly, I thought I would do a bit more research on the date because it seemed a very '70's production' to me and it turns out that it was in fact recorded in 1977.

Thirdly, in my opinion he not only looks good, but is on superb form from the clips I have viewed. Possibly the best £2.00 I have ever spent on a DVD. Are you sure you are commenting on the same show?

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 22, 2014 8:03 pm

Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:Thanks for your reply.

As a result of your recommendation I have just purchased this show through Amazon. They also have another title listed from the Legends In Concert series covering a concert performed at the Jubilee Hall Canada, brand new for 80p + postage = £2.06 which appears to be a steal. I have looked on Youtube and it seems to be a great show. Do you know which year it was from? I'm guessing mid 70's?


It's 1981 I think.

Ok, that's good to know.

Do you rate this particular show or is there a good reason it's available at a giveaway price?


I think it's just one of those things that have fallen into the public domain for one reason or another. That said, I don't like it much - Sedaka, for once, doesn't seem to be in great voice, and the production is rather cheesy. The production of All You Need Is The Music (the special myself and Greystoke discussed earlier) is also dated, but was made a couple of years later by which time Sedaka was considerably thinner than he had been for years and his voice was on top form. The Canada concert is still OK - especially for £2 - but certainly not Sedaka at his most engaging.


Update: It has just arrived in the post today!

First of all it is put together in the form of a documentary, but crucially includes 15 full performances of songs between comments by Neil, his wife and other fans, which is great.

Secondly, I thought I would do a bit more research on the date because it seemed a very '70's production' to me and it turns out that it was in fact recorded in 1977.

Thirdly, in my opinion he not only looks good, but is on superb form from the clips I have viewed. Possibly the best £2.00 I have ever spent on a DVD. Are you sure you are commenting on the same show?


Yes, I think so. He's in a white suit, right? Your date certainly seems more probable than mine - although why it's dated elsewhere as 1981 is anybody's guess. My version hasn't got the documentary bits though. As for the show itself, it might just be a matter of taste. I should also have mentioned earlier that Sky Arts have been showing the 2006 concert The Show Must Go On recently, if you happen to get that channel?

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:19 pm

poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:Thanks for your reply.

As a result of your recommendation I have just purchased this show through Amazon. They also have another title listed from the Legends In Concert series covering a concert performed at the Jubilee Hall Canada, brand new for 80p + postage = £2.06 which appears to be a steal. I have looked on Youtube and it seems to be a great show. Do you know which year it was from? I'm guessing mid 70's?


It's 1981 I think.

Ok, that's good to know.

Do you rate this particular show or is there a good reason it's available at a giveaway price?


I think it's just one of those things that have fallen into the public domain for one reason or another. That said, I don't like it much - Sedaka, for once, doesn't seem to be in great voice, and the production is rather cheesy. The production of All You Need Is The Music (the special myself and Greystoke discussed earlier) is also dated, but was made a couple of years later by which time Sedaka was considerably thinner than he had been for years and his voice was on top form. The Canada concert is still OK - especially for £2 - but certainly not Sedaka at his most engaging.


Update: It has just arrived in the post today!

First of all it is put together in the form of a documentary, but crucially includes 15 full performances of songs between comments by Neil, his wife and other fans, which is great.

Secondly, I thought I would do a bit more research on the date because it seemed a very '70's production' to me and it turns out that it was in fact recorded in 1977.

Thirdly, in my opinion he not only looks good, but is on superb form from the clips I have viewed. Possibly the best £2.00 I have ever spent on a DVD. Are you sure you are commenting on the same show?


Yes, I think so. He's in a white suit, right? Your date certainly seems more probable than mine - although why it's dated elsewhere as 1981 is anybody's guess. My version hasn't got the documentary bits though. As for the show itself, it might just be a matter of taste. I should also have mentioned earlier that Sky Arts have been showing the 2006 concert The Show Must Go On recently, if you happen to get that channel?


I don't get that channel but thanks for the headsup. I was actually at that particular show at the Albert Hall and from memory, whilst it was good I was a little disappointed it didn't feature his whole band all the way through.....which was what led me to ask you about the backing for the Birmingham show you recommended.

Regarding the Canadian show, yes he wears a white suit. What is the title or what picture is on the cover of the DVD release you have featuring the whole show without the comments?

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 22, 2014 9:52 pm

Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
Mike S wrote:Thanks for your reply.

As a result of your recommendation I have just purchased this show through Amazon. They also have another title listed from the Legends In Concert series covering a concert performed at the Jubilee Hall Canada, brand new for 80p + postage = £2.06 which appears to be a steal. I have looked on Youtube and it seems to be a great show. Do you know which year it was from? I'm guessing mid 70's?


It's 1981 I think.

Ok, that's good to know.

Do you rate this particular show or is there a good reason it's available at a giveaway price?


I think it's just one of those things that have fallen into the public domain for one reason or another. That said, I don't like it much - Sedaka, for once, doesn't seem to be in great voice, and the production is rather cheesy. The production of All You Need Is The Music (the special myself and Greystoke discussed earlier) is also dated, but was made a couple of years later by which time Sedaka was considerably thinner than he had been for years and his voice was on top form. The Canada concert is still OK - especially for £2 - but certainly not Sedaka at his most engaging.


Update: It has just arrived in the post today!

First of all it is put together in the form of a documentary, but crucially includes 15 full performances of songs between comments by Neil, his wife and other fans, which is great.

Secondly, I thought I would do a bit more research on the date because it seemed a very '70's production' to me and it turns out that it was in fact recorded in 1977.

Thirdly, in my opinion he not only looks good, but is on superb form from the clips I have viewed. Possibly the best £2.00 I have ever spent on a DVD. Are you sure you are commenting on the same show?


Yes, I think so. He's in a white suit, right? Your date certainly seems more probable than mine - although why it's dated elsewhere as 1981 is anybody's guess. My version hasn't got the documentary bits though. As for the show itself, it might just be a matter of taste. I should also have mentioned earlier that Sky Arts have been showing the 2006 concert The Show Must Go On recently, if you happen to get that channel?


I don't get that channel but thanks for the headsup. I was actually at that particular show at the Albert Hall and from memory, whilst it was good I was a little disappointed it didn't feature his whole band all the way through.....which was what led me to ask you about the backing for the Birmingham show you recommended.

Regarding the Canadian show, yes he wears a white suit. What is the title or what picture is on the cover of the DVD release you have featuring the whole show without the comments?


My version of the Canada show is actually recorded off Sky Arts, so can't give you DVD info!

I have The Show Must Go On on DVD but still haven't got around to watching it! I was pleased he used the full orchestra when I saw him eighteen months ago, but then his solo piano performance on the double LP Neil Sedaka and Songs is truly wonderful - that the album has never been released on CD is such a shame. Allmusic writes the following (the author has yet to understand the art of paragraphs!):

Neil Sedaka and Songs looks like a special album the moment you open the gatefold to this double vinyl package. Six pages of personal photographs, some taken by Sedaka himself, others of the singer posed with Carole King, Connie Francis, Barbara Streisand, and co-writers Howie Greenfield and Phil Cody, combine with 36 performances for an intimate snapshot of an important artist with just his piano, voice, and many stories. It is brilliant, capturing the naked essence of a pop maestro without the strings, drumbeats, and production tricks others may use to hide potential flaws. And there are no major gaffes here, the term consummate performer created for people like Neil Sedaka. "Betty Grable" is the 31st of 36 titles which the singer/songwriter rattles off with ease and elegance; like every track here, it shimmers with life and is performed with total professionalism. This is a living history of this artist, beginning with Chopin's "Fantasy Impromptu" and followed by 17 Sedaka/Greenfield compositions, from the Connie Francis hits "Stupid Cupid" and a tremendous "Where the Boys Are" to "The Diary"; "Oh Carol"; "Stairway to Heaven"; "Calendar Girl," the original "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do"; the latter-day minor hit "Amarillo," which Sedaka states sold three million units for Tony Christie in Europe; a brilliant rendition of the tune written for chanteuse Jane Oliver, "One More Ride on the Merry-Go-Round"; up to the first composition included here co-written by Phil Cody, the poignant "Solitaire." It is one of only four titles Cody contributes, the others include their first hit together, "Laughter in the Rain," the John Lennon-inspired "The Immigrant," and an autobiographical "Brighton." Neil Sedaka rarely writes without one of his partners, but three of his solo efforts contain his own lyrics: "Leba's Song (Any Where You're Gonna Be)" (written for his wife), "Standing on the Inside," and the Top 30 "That's When the Music Takes Me," which hit two years prior to this 1977 recording. The drama and majesty of "Cardboard California" becomes an extraordinary example of Sedaka's piano technique and audience rapport. They start clapping along on "That's When the Music Takes Me," the only accompaniment on this disc. The encore is the 1975 slow version of the 1962 up-tempo hit performed earlier, "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do." There is no exact date of the concert written on this album, which was released in 1977, and most likely recorded at that time as well. The 1976 RCA release, Sedaka Live in Australia, recorded when daughter Dara Sedaka was seven, also fails to document the tour date, which was about 1970, and was released almost simultaneously with this record to capitalize on the new found fame, featuring an orchestra conducted by Lionel Huntington. There are many Neil Sedaka live recordings, but these two in particular are good to compare the depth of the artist while performing with and without other instrumentation. He captivates audiences with the same command Carole King and Neil Diamond have over their fans while performing live, and this disc includes just the right amount of talk in between the tracks to keep the flow going without distraction. Neil Sedaka and Songs is a very fine representation of Neil Sedaka's recorded history.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:06 pm

Having read this thread, I've just watched BBC4's "Neil Sedaka: King of Song".

Nice guy, great talent.

Re: Neil Sedaka

Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:20 am

I attended the Birmingham concert that was released on video. It was one of the best shows I've been to. His voice was superb and Solitaire - wow - best performance of the song that I ever heard!!

The video is great!!

Re: Neil Sedaka

Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:44 pm

Laughter In The Rain is a true Classic!

Re: Neil Sedaka

Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:19 pm

promiseland wrote:Laughter In The Rain is a true Classic!


Have been playing, playing and playing that and Love Will Keep Us Together since it aired.

Driving the other half crazy!