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Neil Sedaka

The American singer songwriter whose career started before Elvis hit the big time made a rare appearance at Symphony Hall on Wednesday. Our own veteran, Terry Wills, watches a master reconnect with his fans.

An empty stage apart from a piano, and a full house Symphony Hall audience anxiously awaiting the entrance of an artist who over a career spanning 57 years, has written songs for many of the most recognised and best selling artists of all time.

A large video screen flashed into action and there they were. Film clips highlighting many past and present singers who have benefited from the talents of Neil Sedaka’s innovative composing talents.

Among them Frank Sinatra-Connie Francis- Shirley Bassey-The Carpenters-David Cassidy-Elton John-The 5th Dimension-Frankie Valli-Abba- Rosemary Clooney-Englebert Humperdink- Tom Jones-Peggy Lee-Neil Diamond-Patsy Cline-Petula Clark-Tony Christie- Elvis Presley and ‘Queen’.

Enter the man himself to rapturous welcome and for the next two hours his adoring fans simply sat back to wallow in an evening of pure nostalgia.

Opening with ‘Oh! Carol’ successive numbers went down a storm. “Happy Birthday Sweet 16” –“Breaking up is hard to do” –“Standing on the Inside” –
“Solitaire” among others.

His interplay with the audience was clear to see. Ever willing to acknowledge that he’d been in show business for five decades.

Typified when after a nostalgic film showing him singing ‘Calendar Girl’ accompanied by attractive young girls from the 60’s, he told that some years later he’d been approached by a lady who said “I was Miss January of 1964”
Laughter at his response “She looked a very old woman”!

He told one of his proudest moments came when friend Michael Jackson told him that “Laughter in the Rain’ was his all time favourite song.

Interspersed with an audience encouraged to join in a sing-along of his hits he passed on an amusing tale of being on Holiday In Beijing as he strolled along the Great Wall of China. Apparently the tour guide told the group he’d sing them a song in English that turned out to be one of Neil ‘s own compositions!

His response “Thank you for playing one of my songs” –The guide reply “It’s not one of your songs its by Neil Sedaka”

“I am Neil Sedaka

If you’re Neil Sedaka I’m Elvis Presley”!

This summed up the evening. Everyone thoroughly enjoying a marvellous night’s entertainment. Rounded off when after making a third reappearance, he reprised many of his sing along numbers before finishing with the massive Tony Christie hit “Amarillo”. Need more be said?

A standing ovation for one of worlds most popular entertainers who thankfully chose Symphony Hall for his only Midland appearance on his current UK tour.


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