Sedaka, a piano student at 9, started composing in 1952 with schoolfriend Howard Greenfield
. Their first song was 'My Life's Devotion
', their first hit Connie Francis' 'Stupid Cupid' (1958). Sedaka's 'The Diary
' (1959) reached US No.14 and he made his UK chart debut that year with 'I Go Ape'. In 1959, he played on Bobby Darin
's 'Dream Lover', scored his own hit with 'Oh! Carol' (dedicated to Carole Klein, a girlfriend from his schooldays, who became better known as Carole King) and issued his debut album Rock With Sedaka, which failed to chart.
But he scored with 1961's 'Calendar Girl' and 'Little Devil', and 1962's 'Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen', 'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do' (his first US chart-topper and million-seller) and 'Next Door To An Angel'. By 1963 he had enough for Neil Sedaka Sings His Greatest Hits.
He gave up touring and recording in 1966 to concentrate on songwriting, and returned to form with Emergence (1972) and 'I'm A Song, Sing Me' (1972), 'That's Where The Music Takes Me' (1973), and 'Laughter In The Rain' (1974). His re-recorded slow version of his 1962 hit 'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do' (1975) reached the US Top 10 and, in 1980, the US Top 20 enjoyed 'Should've Never Let You Go', a duet with his daughter Dara. In 1983, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. In 1991, Timeless, a collection of his hits, some re-recorded, reached UK No.10.