He began as a classical pianist, but doo wop songs of the 1950s such as "Earth Angel" by the Penguins and "Ship of Love" by the Nutmegs lured him to the world of Rock & Roll. NEIL SEDAKA is 80 today, and he began with the Tokens who later went on to record the classic "Lion Sleeps Tonight." Early on, Neil and songwriting partner Howard Greenfield wrote for R&B artists such as the Clovers, Cardinals, Cookies, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Clyde McPhatter and LaVern Baker, but Neil's own solo career got into gear in 1958 with a song called "The Diary" and he scored dozens of hits until 1964 when the Beatles hit. After a decade of what he called "The Hungry Years," Sedaka was back in the 1970s with a new sound and a new list of hits such as "Laughter in the Rain," "Bad Blood," and a slow version of "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do." Speaking of the latter, see a vintage lip-sync performance of the original version of that song by clicking on the photo, and "Happy Birthday, Sweet 80."

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