The fickle music industry tried dropping Neil Sedaka several times. Everybody knows what it kept rediscovering: Breaking up is hard to do. There, we’ve provided your earworm for the day. You’re welcome.
Tickets to a Dec. 1 Neil Sedaka show in the Cowlitz Ballroom at ilani go on sale at 10 a.m. today. Reserved seats are $25 and $45 via ilaniresort.com.
Sedaka, who celebrated his 80th birthday in April, was one of the founding fathers of the sweet, squeaky-clean American pop sound that once emerged like widgets from the legendary Brill Building songwriting factory in New York City. That’s where music impressario Don Kirschner put the young Sedaka and his songwriting partner, Howard Greenfield, to work writing tunes like “Where the Boys Are” for Connie Francis and “Oh! Carol” for Sedaka himself.
His catchy songs, easy manner and classical piano training made Sedaka a solo star by the late 1950s, and he scored that signature hit, “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” in 1962. But when the British Invasion brought rowdier rock ‘n’ roll to these shores, Sedaka’s career took a tumble. He kept writing songs for talents like Frank Sinatra and the Monkees, but Sedaka the performer all but vanished from the scene.
He was back a decade later thanks to a chance meeting in London with the Rocket Man himself, Elton John, who was startled to learn that Sedaka was at loose ends, and signed him to his Rocket Record Company. Sedaka hit his stride again in the mid-1970s with a couple of gold-record albums, the monster hits “Laughter in the Rain” and “Love Will Keep Us Together,” which won a Record of the Year Grammy for the Captain and Tennille. He even wrote for a certain sparkly Swedish harmony group before it named itself ABBA.
Sedaka’s fortunes have risen, fallen and risen again since then, but since the late 2000s he’s been busy recording, touring the globe and soaking up tributes by younger singer-songwriters. His latest album of new compositions was “I Do It for Applause,” released in 2016.
“My main objective,” Sedaka says on his website, “is to always top the last collection, raise the bar and reinvent Neil Sedaka.”
If You Go
What: Neil Sedaka.
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 1.
Where: Cowlitz Ballroom at ilani, 1 Cowlitz Way, Ridgefield.
Tickets: $25 and $45.
On the web: ilaniresort.com