Our Top 10 Neil Sedaka Songs list looks at highlights of the catalog of one of the most prolific songwriters and performers in pop music history. Like a handful of artists such as Neil Diamond, Carole King, Frankie Valli and a few others, Neil Sedaka enjoyed tremendous success in the late 1950s and early 1960s with a string of hits and then revitalized his career in the 1970’s with a series of huge adult contemporary albums that celebrated blockbuster status and number one records. Neil Sedaka has enjoyed a career in which he has celebrated success as both a songwriter for other artists and also as a solo recording and performing artist himself. On both fronts, Neil Sedaka has enjoyed the success of multiple number one singles. Most extraordinarily, Neil Sedaka has released new studio albums in seven straight decades starting with his first album released in 1959 titled Rock with Sedaka and his most recent in 2016 entitled I Do It for Applause.
# 10 – Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen
We open up our top 10 Neil Sedaka songs list with an early Neil Sedaka big-time hit entitled ‘Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen.” The song was released in 1961. ‘Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen,” was written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. The song ‘Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen.” hit number six on the the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. Neil Sedaka’s trademark harmonies were all over this one.
# 9 – Oh Carol
We continue with our top 10 Neil Sedaka songs by going back to his 1950’s period presenting his classic song “Oh Carol.” This amazing song would become Neil Sedaka’s first top 10 hit. The song was released in 1959. “Oh Carol,” hit number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1959. What many people may not realize is that the Carol in the song “Oh Carol,” was in fact Carole King. Neil Sedaka had dated Carole King in high school in the 1950s when she went by the name of Carole Klein.
# 8 -The Hungry Years
Its always fun to jump a couple of decades in between songs to showcase the differences and similarities in writing styles and productions of the same artist over time. “The Hungry Years,” was the title track to his spectacular 1975 album The Hungry Years. This is a beautiful poignant ballad that stands as one of the most wonderful songs ever written by Neil Sedaka.
# 7 – Lonely Night (Angel Face)
The Neil Sedaka song Lonely Night (Angel Face) is the first of two songs on this Neil Sedaka songs list which became number one hits for the Captain & Tennille. The song hit number one on the US Cash Box Top 100 in 1976. It also hit number one on the Billboard Easy Listening list, number one in Canada, and number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The two versions of this song are dramatically different and we have included both of them below.
# 6 – Solitaire
The heartbreaking Neil Sedaka song “Solitaire,” was the title track to Neil Sedaka’s 1972 album Solitaire. It had been a while since Neil Sedaka had a hit as he had not fared well during the late 1960s. Interestingly, the three musicians and engineer who worked with Neil Sedaka on the album, Graham Gouldman, Lol Creme, Kevin Godley and Eric Stewart would form the band 10cc a year later. So in many ways, this great 1972 album was a Neil Sedaka and 10cc album.
“Solitaire,” would be covered by many artists. The Carpenters had a huge hit with the song in 1975. Clay Aiken brought the house down with his live version during the second season of American Idol. A version so stunning that Neil Sedaka said “Solitaire,” would always be Clay Aiken’s song from that point on.
# 5 – Calendar Girl
As we head into the second half of our top 10 Neil Sedaka songs list, we travel back to the 1960s again. One of Neil Sedaka’s biggest hits of the 1960s was his great song “Calendar Girl.” The song was released as a single in 1961.” Calendar Girl,” would become Neil Sedaka’s first top five hit on the Billboard Hot 100. However, the song went to number one on the Canadian music charts. It also became a number one hit in Japan.
# 4 – Bad Blood
The next four Neil Sedaka songs were tough to put in order. They are four fabulous songs that all went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. There of them were for Neil Sedaka and the fourth was a number one for The Captain & Tennille. There are all also very different from each other clearly defining just how brilliant a songwriter Neil Sedaka was and still is.
The first of the four presented here is the great Neil Sedaka and Elton John recording entitled “Bad Blood.” I remember hearing this song for the first time and being completely blown away by it. It’s such a great song on all fronts. Millions agreed as it went straight to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed at number one for three weeks in a row. “Bad Blood,” was released on the album The Hungry Years in 1975.
# 3 – Love Will Keep Us Together
If you were alive in 1975 and listening to AM radio, you pretty much heard this song every fifteen minutes. “Love Will Keep Us Together,” as recorded by The Captain & Tennille was the biggest song of the year. The song stayed at number one for almost the entire month of July during the summer of 1975. It won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year also in 1975. Neil Sedaka’s first version appeared in 1973 on a UK only release. Neil Sedaka never had a hit on his own with the song, but the Captain & Tennille sure made up for it.
# 2 – Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (Both Versions)
We were trying to pick which Neil Sedaka version of the song “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” we should include on this top 10 Neil Sedaka’s songs list. In the end, we decided to present both. Neil Sedaka’s first version of the song will always be the more famous of the two.”Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” was released in 1962. “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” would become Neil Sedaka’s first number one hit in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1975, Neil Sedaka recorded a new slow ballad version of the song that was very compelling. It was released on the album The Hungry Years. It was the second time Neil Sedaka would score a top 10 hit with the song as it peaked at number eight on the Billboard 100 thirteen years after it had hit number in 1962. Wow!
# 1 – Laughter In The Rain
As we come to a close on our top 10 Neil Sedaka songs list we present our favorite Neil Sedaka song. “Laughter In The Rain,” is just one of those songs that just makes you feel good. It’s soaring feel good melody is so captivating you just never get tired of it. The song was released as a single in 1974. The song went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed their for two weeks. It also hit number one in Canada.