Neil Sedaka was top of his game at the turn of the ’60s with songs like “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen“, “Calendar Girl” and “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do“. His brief reign as a chart-topper was cut short by the British Invasion, often attributed only to The Beatles but in U.S. Herman’s Hermits sold more records than The Beatles in 1964!
Below, Neil talks about the ‘drop-dead’ chord he borrowed from Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ for his masterpiece ‘Laughter In The Rain’ and how he wrote ‘[Is This The Way To] Amarillo’. At 4 mins, Neil recalls the story of our first meeting at Donny Kirshner’s New York office.
I was a big fan and after months of negotiating with his publisher, Donny Kirshner, I finally secured Neil Sedaka’s new song, “Is This The Way To Amarillo” for Tony Christie who had a smash hit with it in 1971. At the time Neil Sedaka was performing at working mens’ clubs in the U.K. and I approached him at the Batley Variety Club in Yorkshire and persuaded him to record with my guys at Strawberry.
In a few weeks he’d recorded his comeback album Solitaire with help from Eric Stewart, Graham Gouldman, Lol Creme and Kevin Godley.
Because of Amarillo’s success, Tony Christie also recorded the title song, “Solitaire“, but his label MCA wouldn’t use it as a follow-up . . . but Neil Sedaka put out his own “Solitaire” (recorded at Strawberry with 10cc!) to promote his comeback album bringing him back again.
He revisited the Strawberry team in ’73 for The Tra-La Days Are Over:
One of the well-known tracks was: “Love Will Keep Us Together“:-
The Captain and Tennille version was a No.1 on Billboard chart and biggest U.S. hit of ’75 winning the Grammy for Record of the Year.
POST NOTE . . .
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