Neil Sedaka

neil-sedaka-rkbNeil’s teacher saw his musical aptitude when he was in the 2nd grade in a choral class, and suggested to his mother that he take piano lessons. His mother worked a 2nd job for 6 months so that she could buy Neil a 2nd hand upright

Neil won a scholarship to Julliard School of Music in 1947, and was entered into the children’s division. While his mother wanted him to be a classical concert pianist like Van Cliburn, Sedaka had his eye on pop music.

He met lyricist Howie Greenfield when he was 13, and the two would go on to be a successful songwriting team working out of NY’s Brill Building for many years

Sedaka went on to be a successful solo performer, and had several hits including “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen” and “Oh, Carol”

There is is a video clip on Youtube from the show “What’s My Line” in 1965 where Sedaka plays “Fantasy Impromptu” by Chopin. It is clear from that performance that he was a virtuoso level pianist who could certainly have had a classical career as his mother had hoped for.