Neil became a teen idol and was one of the youngest peformers to tour extensively. Born in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, Neil did not come from a musical family. His father was a taxi driver and his mother was a homemaker. His only connection to music was his grandmother who played piano but whom he never really knew.
Many other performers have recorded many of the tunes written by Neil. He was catapulted into fame at the young age of 18 when Connie Francis recorded his Stupid Cupid. His song Where the Boys Are became a #1 hit for Connie in 1961. In 1961, Neil also recorded Bad Blood with Elton John on backing vocals. The song earned a Grammy nomination for best male vocal performance.
By 1963 after selling some 25 million records, Neil Sedaks was riding the wave of international success. Over 1,000 rock and roll songs and 52 records earned Neil gold and platinum, five Grammy nominations, numerous awards including the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, six BMI Awards, a street in Brooklyn named after him, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a likeness in the the Madame Tussaud Wax Museum in Las Vegas and an autobiography.
The 25 million records included one of his worldwide hits, Oh Carol. The lyrics were penned in honor of his former girlfriend Carol King. His greatest copyright was Breaking Up Is Hard To Do. Many recording artists have recorded his songs, among them Tom Jones with Puppet Man, The Fifth Dimension with Workin on a Groovy Thing, and The Monkees with When Love Comes Knocking At Your Door. With a bow to his roots, Neil produced more gold in the 1990s with Classically Sedaka, his biggest selling CD at concerts with his lyrics to the melodies of classical legends such as Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovksy.
In 1975, Neil re-recorded Breaking Up Is Hard To Do as a ballad. This was musically unique. It made chart history in the United States when the song reached the top ten. It was the only song of two versions to be a hit twice for the same artist. In 1991, Love Will Keep Us Together was reworked as a ballad. This song from the Tra La Days Are Over album, launched The Captain and Tennille as a 3 million seller. Being the most broadcast song in the USA in 1976 earned Sedaka the coveted Grammy Award. Neil was the first artist to gain six BMI Awards for 400,000 annual airplays per song.