High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bad Blood? Why Isn't Neil Sedaka in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

I can't remember ever hearing

a Neil Sedaka record played at

the Shady Dell, so don't look

for any of his songs on my

Dell's Greatest Hits list.

Despite that somewhat surprising piece of trivia Neil Sedaka is a giant of the music industry - a prolific, multi-talented singer, pianist, songwriter and architect of Brill Building pop. Neil is a rock & roll pioneer with a long string of hit records. Over the years he has worked with or influenced scores of other artists.

I love the quality of Neil's voice, his perfect diction and
the way he always finishes off his syllables. I love Neil's verve and pizzazz and how he always radiates positive energy.

I have joined the legions of fans who think it's a crime that Neil Sedaka continues to be overlooked for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A petition was posted online and I signed it.

I'd like to share with you a few of my favorite Neil Sedaka songs, beginning with one of his biggest and best hits,
"Oh! Carol," The composition is Neil's tribute to friend and fellow Brill Building singer/songwriter Carole King.

"Oh! Carol" was a top 10 smash for Neil, remaining on the charts through the fall of 1959 and the winter of 1960.

Unknown to many, the 45 had a certified killer bee on its back, the irresistible "One Way Ticket" (to the blues).

"Circulate," another Neil Sedaka killer bee that spun quite frequently on my turntable, was the fab flip on the back of "Alice in Wonderland."

"Circulate" didn't chart, but "Alice" became a top 20 hit and was popular during February and March of 1963.

As is often the case with recordings that I love, my favorite
Neil Sedaka song is one of his lowest charting.

From August, September and October of 1965, reaching
#76 on Billboard but deserving a much better fate, here is "The World Through a Tear."


In a business that has long rewarded bad boy personae and trash talkin' 'tudes, punks, posers and pretenders; squeaky wheels, suck-ups and sycophants; ditsy divas and drugged-out derelicts, Neil Sedaka has maintained a clean, wholesome image and appealed to our kinder, gentler nature.

Mister Sedaka doesn't come across as cool in the traditional sense but, like the legendary pianist Liberace, Mister Sedaka was and is an original,
a showman, and a consummate professional. Mister Sedaka's music makes you feel good inside and that, ladies and gentlemen, is cool!

There is a preponderance of evidence to suggest that Mister Sedaka's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not only deserved, but long overdue. Mister Sedaka's distinguished recording, touring, and writing career has spanned six decades. He has penned more than 1,000 songs. He has a street named after him in his hometown
of Brooklyn. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has been inducted into the Song-
writers Hall of Fame
. He has millions of fans of
all ages all around the globe. Why then, you
might ask, is Mister Sedaka still sitting by the phone waiting for word that his immeasurable contributions to the music industry will at long last be fully acknowledged and rewarded by induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? How much more proof of his worthiness does the nominating committee need? Would it help if Mister Sedaka peed on a few sidewalks or trashed a few hotel rooms now and then?

Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...I'll let you in on a little secret.
Mister Sedaka has not yet been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because he's too nice a guy and the profiteers and puppeteers who control the strings seem bound and determined to make sure that nice guys finish last.

Some might contend that the bulk of Mister Sedaka's work has not been "serious" enough.
For those who dare to insinuate that Mr. Sedaka
is in any way a lightweight, let me remind them
that there is nothing more serious than the task
of healing America, an America that has been torn and divided for decades and in recent years has become mired in a cesspool of sleaze. Mister Sedaka's silly love songs are the lifeline that can pull us out of the muck of moral decay...if we have enough sense to reach for it.

The America that we once knew was hijacked decades ago by greedy, selfish brats who discovered that they could make big bucks in
the music business, movies and television by "merely reflecting the realities of modern society." Suddenly, we found ourselves in an America
hell bent on growing up too fast and celebrating
the rude, the crude and the vulgar. Putting a mirror in the gutter and forcing us look at a puddle of our own sick 24/7/365 might be a lucrative enterprise, ladies and gentlemen, but it is what we should do? Is it what we must do to make money, win awards, and be voted into our halls of fame? Maybe it's time to turn the beat around, peeps, and thank the brave men and women who still believe in setting the bar higher - those who remind us that we as a society can do better than this...if we only give ourselves permission.

Mister Sedaka has been eligible for induction into the Rock Hall since the mid 1980s. Yet every cycle the Foundation voters have snubbed him, and his name will not be read at this year's induction ceremony on Monday, March 14th. Mister Sedaka continues to be overlooked for an honor that he richly deserves, ostensibly on the grounds that his refusal to take the low road and pander to our animal instincts somehow makes him "less than."
I have a question for the decision makers at the Hall of Fame: "Less than what?"

And so, the proud members of the Rock & Roll
Hall of Fame nominating committee are today's


Have a Shady day!


  1. I do not know if it was ever on the Dell jukebox, but I do remember dancing to "Calendar Girl" many times at local record hops. Memory is a funny thing. I distinctly remember dancing with a Reading Scarlet Knights cheerleader to this song after a York Hi game up at Reading PA. Our own cheerleaders wouldn't dance with the Nerd I was.


  2. Neil Sedaka is indeed deserving of induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In fact, he is one of two singer/songwriters named Neil who graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn who are not yet in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame but should be.

  3. Thank you both for your comments. Greatly appreciated!

  4. Blog friends - This post is a rerun from two years ago. I left the original comments intact because they are interesting and have merit. The other Neil that rslitman was referring to in his 2009 comment is Neil Diamond who, I am happy to say, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.

  5. Hi Shady, This is still one of your best written serious blogs. It is on a serious note, but still fun to read and enjoy the music. I guess neither Neil is considered a true Rock and Roll musician, but I agree both should be in the hall of fame. Do you think maybe prejudice? Have a great day.


  6. Jerre - Can you believe it's been two years? It's great to have you post another comment on this piece and your compliment about the quality of my rare Keith Olbermann inspired rant means a lot to me. I think there really is a bias against feel good pop music and silly love songs. Serious, edgy material attracts more attention and wins more awards. It's much the same in the movie industry where comedies and light dramas are passed over for Oscar nominations in favor of films with more serious themes. Thank you again, Jerre, for following me for nearly three years and for commenting twice on this Neil Sedaka tribute.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. heart goes pitter-patter because I'm mad as a hatter... Oh I loved that line! Thanks for sharing Shady. After reading your excellent post, it seems to me that Mr. Sedaka is most worthy of being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But then again, if they are the worst people in the world, perhaps not!

  9. Alabee - I know who's one of the BEST people in the world - YOU! I am very happy to see you here, dear friend, and I am glad you got a lift from my Neil Sedaka favorites. Thank you very much for visiting and commenting, dear Alabee, and please stay close, okay?

  10. Shady I want to thank your for your continuous support. It's really YOU whose the best! Its sometimes difficult to muster up the energy to blog, but your words of encouragement keep me going. You're the reason I decided to not delete my blog. I just hope I continue to be worthy of your praise.

  11. Alabee - You will always have my support and my friendship. I would never abandon you. If coming here, listening to music, and making a connection with people who care gives you any relief at all then please keep doing it. We can and will make things better. Bless you, dear friend!

  12. Thanks for all the Neil Sedaka songs I never heard. When I was a kid I don't think I heard any song that he hadn't overdubbed his voice a half-dozen times for back-up, which I didn't mind. It's nice hearing him without all that overdubbing, just like a rare Karen Carpenter song where you can concentrate on her vocal, like the great "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." No backups with the same voice multiple times. Neil definitely sounds better without that gimmick.

  13. Ron - I love "The World Through a Tear" because of its purity, simplicity, maturity and melancholy lyrics. I'm glad you found a few of his songs to like as well. Thanks for your comment, good buddy!

  14. It it such a shame that a artist like Mr. Sedaka does not get the recognition he deserves.His music is excellent and will never go out of style.He composed great songs.


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