American pop and rock singer, pianist, and composer Neil Sedaka was born on March 13, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York. By the age of 8, Sedaka was already a piano prodigy. In 1956, he was awarded a scholarship to the Juilliard School in New York City, where he continued to divide his time between pop music and classical studies.
After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School, Sedaka and some of his classmates formed a band called The Tokens. The band had minor regional hits with songs like “While I Dream”, “I Love My Baby”, “Come Back, Joe”, and “Don’t Go”, before Sedaka launched out on his own in 1957.
Eventually, after a few personnel changes, in 1961, the Tokens hit No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts with the international smash “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”.
His first single for RCA, “The Diary”, was inspired by Connie Francis, one of Sedaka and Greenfield’s most important clients, while the three were taking a temporary break during their idea-making for a new song.
In 1958, Sedaka and Greenfield joined the talent at 1650 Broadway, which included Neil Diamond, Carole King and Paul Simon. Record producer Steve Sholes contracted Sedaka for RCA, where he created such hits as Oh! Carol (written for former girlfriend Carole King), Breaking up Is Hard to doandCalendar Girl.
In 1964, the direction of American music changed drastically when The Beatles launched The British Invasion. It became very hard for most male solo artists to continue to pursue their career in music.
Due to his many talents as a songwriter, Neil was able to prevail, writing hit songs for such artists including Frank Sinatra (The Hungry Years), Elvis Presley (Solitaire), Tom Jones (“Puppet Man”), The Monkees (When Love Comes Knocking At Your Door), and The Fifth Dimension (Workin’ on a Groovy Thing).
From 1963 to ’65, Sedaka spent his time travelling the world to record his hits in Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese and Hebrew. In June 2004, Sedaka was honoured by the National Academy of Popular Music and the Songwriters Hall of Fame with a Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes outstanding work in furthering the successes of songwriters.
With a career spanning six decades, a rare feat in the entertainment world, Sedaka never ceases to amaze. He shows no signs of slowing down.
Neil has appeared on FOX’s hit Television show American Idol, as a guest judge in which Clay Aiken would perform Neil’s Solitaire, which saw an inevitable release, reaching #4 on the Hot 100 Singles chart, and was one of the Top Selling Singles of 2004.
Sedaka has been married for fifty years to his wife, Leba, and they have two children: daughter Dara is a recording artist and vocalist for television and radio commercials and son Marc is a successful screenwriter in Los Angeles.
Neil has three grandchildren, twin granddaughters Amanda and Charlotte, and a grandson, Michael. This legendary singer is a well-known “family man” and enjoys talking about his roots. He still tours constantly, performing concerts all over the world.