Neil Sedaka’s life is like a Disney movie — specifically, “The Lion King.” There was a long period in the 1950s and ‘60s when he was, if not the king, certainly the crown prince of pop music. Songs he wrote and sang topped the hit parade. This was followed by a low period around the time The Beatles hit the airwaves, then resurgence with the help of Elton John. Today, he records CDs with his grandchildren. In short: the circle of life.
The latest collaboration started two years ago with a CD/Book combo called “Waking Up Is Hard to Do.” It included children’s versions of his most popular songs, like “Where the Toys Are” and “Lunch Will Keep Us Together.” Its success spawned a follow-up collaboration called “Dinosaur Pets” that’s doing so well it was recently out of stock on Amazon.com.
The Brooklyn-born composer and singer is also the subject of “Laughter in the Rain,” a play that’s received good early reviews in England. And the release of a symphony and piano concerto he composed and recorded with the London Philharmonic is in the works. Sedaka is being honored on June 12 by the Folksbiene National Yiddish Theatre at the award-winning group’s spring gala. He spoke to The Arty Semite about Adele, dating Carole King, and the mysterious ingredient in egg creams.
Curt Schleier: What do you think of modern music, compared to what you grew up with?
Neil Sedaka: I like Maroon 5, Cold Play. Snow Patrol from Ireland is very good. Adele is wonderful. I enjoy a new singer named Rumer. I don’t care for rap or hip-hop.