Concert review: Sedaka charms fans in Oklahoma City Philharmonic Pops concert

1960s performer Neil Sedaka sang as part of an Oklahoma City Philharmonic Pops concert.
Oklahoman Published: April 28, 2014
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Breaking up was hard to do for spectators who gave Neil Sedaka several standing ovations at the end of his pops concert Saturday with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker.

Sedaka sang two versions of his hit song “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” first in its original rock tempo, and later to a slower beat, but with even more feeling, to the delight of the appreciative audience, for his final encore.

Wearing a black coat and shirt, but not formal attire, Sedaka brought a gracious manner and a sense of gratitude for having “come full circle,” from classic to pop-rock and back, over the course of his more than 50-year career.

Noting he sold 40 million records from 1958 to 1963, after leaving Juilliard for rock, Sedaka called himself the “king of the tra-la-las” — a point he’d already made singing “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen,” joined by the crowd.

Other rousing early songs, some performed at the piano, others while standing or even with a few dance steps, included “Oh! Carole,” “Calendar Girl” (my “heart’s in a whirl”), and “Where the Boys Are,” covered by Connie Francis.

Sedaka supplied hints on writing a hit song, first with melody and beat, so you can dance to it, then filling in lyrics, as he sang his catchy Grammy winner, “Love Will Keep Us Together,” recorded by the Captain and Tennille.

Emblematic of his comeback after the Beatles-led British Invasion was “Laughter in the Rain,” a paean to the joys of nature and being with someone you love, recorded for Elton John’s Rocket label in the mid-’70s.

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