Neil Sedaka returns to Atlantic City with over six decades of hits that he will perform for fans at The Golden Nugget on Saturday March 12th. He chatted with Explore NJ about the up coming concert and all kinds of other fun facts, so please check it out below:
WHO: AN EVENING WITH NEIL SEDAKA
WHEN: SATURDAY MARCH 12, 2016
WHERE: THE GOLDEN NUGGET ATLANTIC CITY
WHITNEY ULLMAN: WE’RE EXCITED TO HAVE YOU COME TO ATLANTIC CITY AGAIN, WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FOND MEMORIES?
NEIL SEDAKA: Oh! I’ve been doing it since 1970 … I was there for the first opening of Merv Griffin’s Resorts. As for Atlantic City, I took the kids when they were little to the Steel Pier, that always stays in my head. Also, I followed the Diving Horse when I was about 19 years old. It was a show, 4 shows a night at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City.
THAT IS SO COOL. THE STEEL PIER IS EVER EVOLVING, SO HOPEFULLY YOU’LL GET TO GO BACK THERE. WHEN YOU’RE IN ATLANTIC CITY IS THERE A SPECIFIC PLACE YOU’D LIKE TO VISIT?
NEIL SEDAKA: Well, I like to go to the beach. I grew up on the beach in Brooklyn, New York, so that’s always a treat. Anything that looks like a roller coaster I love. I’m a roller coaster freak.
REALLY? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE?
NEIL SEDAKA: Oh my Cyclone in Coney Island, the wooden one.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ATLANTIC CITY SHOW, I KNOW YOU HAVE MANY HITS OVER THE DECADES, WHAT WILL YOU BE PLAYING THIS TIME AROUND?
NEIL SEDAKA: It’s a good problem. I never know what to leave out. I have to do, of course, all of the old rock and roll hits of mine, which I love to do. Then I do new songs. I’m happy to say, Whitney, that some of the new songs go over better than the old hits, which is very flattering. I write a collection every year and I usually put it on the Amazon or iTunes just to show people that a 77 year old can still sing and write and still develop and grow and re-invent Neil Sedaka.
THAT’S TRUE, YOU’RE ALWAYS EVOLVING AND REINVENTING YOURSELF, LIKE YOU SAID, THE MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS CHANGED TO MOSTLY EVERYTHING ONLINE. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? DO YOU THINK IT’S BETTER FOR THE ARTIST?
NEIL SEDAKA: No, I think it’s all in concerts. The future is all in live concerts, unless you are Taylor Swift. My generation, without the record stores, don’t know how to do the internet very well. These kids click on a song and buy it and then their friends copy it. It really … if you sell 20,000 first time out, you’ll be in the top 5 and then the next week you’ll drop off the charts.
SINCE YOU MENTIONED CONCERTS, ONE OF THE BIG CONTROVERSIES RIGHT NOW IS BEYONCE’S PERFORMANCE DURING THE SUPER BOWL HALF-TIME SHOW, DID YOU WATCH IT?
NEIL SEDAKA: Oh, she’s magnificent. Just look at her! Besides the looks, the voice, the whole package is quite incredible. Bruno Mars is also incredible, and Lady Gaga sang the hell out of that national anthem … talking about reinventing herself, she has really gotten to be a great singer of the American songbook, the old standards.
IS THERE ANYONE YOU WOULD LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH?
NEIL SEDAKA: Oh, I like Meghan Trainor, I like Ariana Grande, I like … there’s another cute girl named “Gomez.”
NEIL SEDAKA: Selena Gomez. But you know, they write their own songs, I have written new songs and sent it to them, so you never know what happens.
YEAH, THAT’S TRUE. YOU’VE BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL WITH THAT. A LOT OF YOUR FANS WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE TIME WHEN YOU RECORDED WITH ELTON JOHN. ARE THERE ANY FUN BEHIND THE SCENES STORIES?
NEIL SEDAKA: Yes, Taylor Swift had a number one with a song called Bad Blood, but I wrote a Bad Blood years ago and it was a duet with Elton John. My Bad Blood was number one for 3 weeks in 1976. It was a duet. Elton had signed me to his record label and he was a big fan. I was off the charts for 13 years and he resurrected my career with a song called “Laughter In The Rain.” He sang duet with me of Bad Blood and then I re-did “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” as a ballad. I think I’m the only singer who had a hit with the same song twice. First as a rock and roll tempo and then years later as a ballad.
WOW. YEAH, YOU PROBABLY WERE. WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH ELTON? DO YOU STIL KEEP IN TOUCH WITH HIM?
NEIL SEDAKA: Oh yes. He was very nice. A book came out last year about my life, Neil Sedaka: The Rock and Roll Survivor by Rich Podolsky. Elton wrote the forward, he wrote several pages. I thought that was very lovely of him.
HOW ABOUT WORKING WITH DICK CLARK, WHAT ARE SOME FOND MEMORIES?
NEIL SEDAKA: Oh, he started me off. I was 19 years old. I was an unknown, but I was with RCA which was a powerhouse label, and he put me on his show with The Diary. That was 1958. I have been doing it now, 60 years.
NEIL SEDAKA: I walk out on the stage and I get a standing ovation because they can’t believe that a 77 year old still sings and writes this way.
WHAT’S ONE OF THE CRAZIEST GIFTS THAT A FAN HAS EVER GIVEN YOU OVER THE YEARS?
NEIL SEDAKA: I like birds, I always had a pet parrot and one died a few years ago, he was 25 years old, Echo, and this great artist who does animals in wood, gave me a gift of … I gave him a photograph of Echo and he made an exact replica in wood of my bird who had passed away. I thought that was beautiful.
TELL US ABOUT A TIME WHEN YOU WERE STARSTRUCK?
NEIL SEDAKA: Oh, starstruck. Barbra Streisand … Elvis Presley invited my wife and I to his show in Vegas and back stage and that was certainly a thrill. There are certain people, but of course I started in classical music, so if I met a Vladimir Horowitz or Leonard Bernstein it was a great thrill. I remember seeing The Rolling Stones in Madison Square Garden and in the front there were no seats, you had to stand, and standing next to me was Bernstein, Leonard Bernstein. I said to him, “What do you think of this group?” He says, “They are a great contribution to music.” I was surprised to see him there.
WHAT ARE YOUR VALENTINES DAY PLANS?
NEIL SEDAKA: Well, Leba and I have been married 53 years and we will be in California.
WE’VE KNOWN YOU FOR OVER 6 DECADES, IS THERE ANYTHING THAT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
NEIL SEDAKA: I love to ski. I’m a great tennis fan. I go to all the US Opens. I wear my Roger Federer hat. I love amusement parks. I grew up near Coney Island, so I love all kinds of rides. That, I guess, some people are surprised.
DO YOU WATCH ANY REALITY SHOWS?
NEIL SEDAKA: I watch the singing shows, The Voice and this is the last year of American Idol. I was lucky I was on the second season as a celebrity judge and Clay Aiken sang my song, Solitaire, which went to number one. It sold almost half a million singles.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING A CELEBRITY JUDGE?
NEIL SEDAKA: Very exciting, very exciting. I couldn’t walk in the street. Twelve year olds were stopping me for my autograph.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR FANS TO KNOW?
NEIL SEDAKA: Well, I’m looking forward to the show, as usual, the audiences are great there… I love what I do and I think people can pick up on that. There are some performers who walk through it, but I really feel the music and I am very proud of the work I’ve done.