Saturday, February 13, 2010
NEIL SEDAKA IN 1964 - THE FORGOTTEN YEAR
Neil Sedaka knew he was in big trouble. The British Invasion had struck hard and fast, and Neil was left as a casualty. It is ironic in that he was a huge influence on the Merseybeat sound, yet all those groups inspired by him were leaving him in the dust.
Yet Neil made some of the greatest records of his career in 1964. If you haven't heard or read about them, here's your chance!
RCA 8341) The Closest Thing To Heaven
Mr. Sedaka's first release of the year remains one of his strongest teen singles. It's got a smooth, medium tempo, and Neil croons it like it's an old classic. Horns are added tastefully, and the usual trio of girls is backing him up. Unfortunately, the public didn't agree and this release only reached the bottom rungs of the charts. Producer Joe Rene argued with Neil about the production, telling Neil that this was why he wasn't having Top 40 records anymore. Regardless, it is a classic in my book. Listen to it here
(RCA 8328) SUNNY/ SHE'LL NEVER BE YOU
After the failure of The Closest Thing To Heaven, Neil went back into the studio and recorded a Four Seasons inspired tune, Sunny. Ron Dante helped him out with the falsetto notes. While not a strong record, it was still very good and deserved better than it's mediocre chart rating. Listen
The B-Side, She'll Never Be You, is actually much better. A return to the usual Sedaka sound, it features an strong backbeat, a double tracked harmony vocal, and a catchy melody. THIS should have been the A Side. She'll Never Be You
(RCA UNRELEASED) It Hurts To Be In Love...version one
Around this time, Neil recorded a Greenfield-Miller recording, It Hurts To Be In Love. Intended as a demo, he liked it so much that he wanted RCA to release it as a single. Listen to the DEMO now
(RCA UNRELEASED) It Hurts To Be In Love...version two
Neil took the demo version to RCA, who declined to release it, insisting it must be recorded at the RCA studio to be released. So Neil re-recorded it there. HERE is where to hear it.
Neil nor RCA was satisfied with the results. Later in the year, Don Kirshener took the original demo, wiped off Neil's vocal, leaving a backing track. Kirshener then gave it to, well......see for yourself.
IT HURTS TO BE IN LOVE - HIT VERSION
(RCA 8453) I HOPE HE BREAKS YOUR HEART
After RCA rejected It Hurts To Be In Love, Neil went back into the studio with another Greenfield-Miller song. I Hope He Breaks Your Heart still sported the trademark Sedaka sound. This disc is one of my favorites and I think it will be one of yours too.
He promoted the record very hard, and two video clips survive of Neil lip-syncing the song, and another with live vocals.
And, so my friends, despite making some amazing records this year, Mr. Sedaka would have to wait until the 70s to get the chart popularity that the genius deserved.