June 22, 2016
With temperatures outside The Songwriting School of Los Angeles reaching as high as 117º, the great Neil Sedaka could not have been warmer in spirit or cooler in stature as he sat down as Paul Zollo's guest for Songwriters on Songwriting, Live. The spirited conversation spanned Sedaka's remarkable career from hit writer in the fabled Brill Building to hit pop recording artist, and on to his creative re-birth with collaborator Phil Cody.
Mr. Cody later joined his former co-writer on the stage. The two recalled penning such smash hits as "Solitaire" and "Laughter in the Rain," as well as writing "The Immigrant" for John Lennon. Their mutual respect and affection yielded songs of pure emotion and artistry in their career together--all on display in their warm exchange on this hot afternoon.
Mr. Cody, himself an instructor at The Songwriting School of Los Angeles, remarked that his own "songwriting school" had been "at the right elbow" of Neil Sedaka. The maestro punctuated the conversation with trips to the piano, giving the room a sense of that education and revealing himself as a fine "suit-maker" who takes pieces of fabric from different songs and traditions and stitches them expertly into his own tailored songs.
As he has done for decades in his beloved book Songwriters on Songwriting and as he has done for the past year in this live interview series, Paul Zollo allowed us a rare and thoughtful glimpse behind the songs and into the mind and heart of a master songwriter, this time the great Neil Sedaka.
The extreme heat in Burbank blew out the air conditioning units that serve the broadcast studio, and the event was moved to another space in The Songwriting School at the last minute. The audio below is thus filled with fan noise and squeaky chairs as the audience shifted and tried to stay cool. A restored audio version will be made available at a later date. For now, enjoy the great Neil Sedaka!