|Born||March 15, 1936|
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Died|| March 4, 1986 49) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Lyricist and songwriter|
Howard Greenfield (March 15, 1936 – March 4, 1986) was an American lyricist and songwriter, who for several years in the 1960s worked out of the famous Brill Building. He is best known for his successful songwriting collaborations, including one with Neil Sedaka from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, and a near-simultaneous (and equally successful) songwriting partnership with Jack Keller throughout most of the 1960s.
The Brill Building is an office building located at 1619 Broadway on 49th Street in the New York City borough of Manhattan, just north of Times Square and further uptown from the historic musical Tin Pan Alley neighborhood. It is famous for housing music industry offices and studios where some of the most popular American songs were written. It is considered to have been the center of the American music industry that dominated the pop charts in the early 1960s.
Neil Sedaka is an American pop singer, pianist, composer and record producer. Since his music career began in 1957 as a short-lived founding member of the Tokens, he has sold millions of records as an artist and has written or co-written over 500 songs for himself and others, collaborating mostly with lyricists Howard Greenfield and Phil Cody.
Jack Walter Keller was an American composer, songwriter and record producer. He co-wrote, with Howard Greenfield and others, several pop hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including "Just Between You and Me", "Everybody's Somebody's Fool", "My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own", "Venus in Blue Jeans" and "Run to Him". He also wrote the theme songs for TV series including Bewitched and Gidget, and later worked in Los Angeles – where he wrote for, and produced, The Monkees – and in Nashville.
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Greenfield co-wrote four songs that reached #1 on the US Billboard charts: "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do", as recorded by Sedaka; "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" and "Breakin' in a Brand New Broken Heart", both as recorded by Connie Francis, and "Love Will Keep Us Together", as recorded by Captain & Tennille.
"Everybody's Somebody's Fool" is a song written by Jack Keller and Howard Greenfield that was a No. 1 hit for Connie Francis in 1960. A polka-style version in German, "Die Liebe ist ein seltsames Spiel", was the first German single recorded and released by Connie Francis, and it reached No. 1 on the single chart in 1960 in West Germany.
"Breakin' in a Brand New Broken Heart" is a popular song written by Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller. It was recorded by Connie Francis in an October 18, 1960, New York City session conducted and arranged by Stan Applebaum; the same session produced "Where the Boys Are" to which "Breakin' in a Brand New Broken Heart" was released as the follow-up single in April 1961, reaching the Top 10 in May with a Billboard Hot 100 peak of #7.
Connie Francis is an American pop singer and top-charting female vocalist of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Although her chart success waned in the second half of the 1960s, Francis remained a top concert draw. Despite several severe interruptions in her career, she is still active as a recording and performing artist.
He also co-wrote numerous other top 10 hits for Sedaka (including "Oh! Carol", "Stairway to Heaven", "Calendar Girl", "Little Devil", "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen", and "Next Door to an Angel"); Francis (including the "Theme to Where The Boys Are " and "My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own"); the Everly Brothers ("Crying in the Rain"); Jimmy Clanton ("Venus in Blue Jeans") and the Shirelles ("Foolish Little Girl"). Greenfield also co-wrote the theme songs to numerous 1960s TV series, including Gidget , Bewitched , The Flying Nun and Hazel .
"Oh! Carol" is an international hit written by Neil Sedaka in 1958. The song was co-written with Howard Greenfield. The song reached #9 in the American charts in 1959. It also earned Sedaka his first #1 ranking when it went to #1 on the Italian charts for four weeks in January 1960. After release of single, it was included in the album Neil Sedaka Sings Little Devil and His Other Hits. The song is noted for Sedaka's spoken recitation of the verse, the second time around.
"Stairway to Heaven" is a song written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. It was released as a 45 rpm single and appeared on Sedaka's 1960 album Neil Sedaka Sings Little Devil and His Other Hits.
"Calendar Girl" is a song by Neil Sedaka. The music was composed by Sedaka and the lyrics by Howard Greenfield. Recorded in 1960 and released in 1961, it was a Top-5 hit single for Sedaka, peaking at #4 on the US charts, #3 in Australia, and #1 on the Canadian and Japanese charts.
In 2005, "Is This The Way To Amarillo", a song Greenfield had written with Sedaka in the early 1970s, reached #1 on the UK charts in the original 1971 version by Tony Christie. The video featured an all-star celebrity line-up lip-synching the track, and the proceeds went to charity. The record stayed at #1 for 7 weeks, and became the UK's best-selling record of the millennium to that time.
Tony Christie is an English musician, singer and actor. He is best known for his recording of "(Is This The Way To) Amarillo", a double UK chart success. He lived for many years in Sheffield where his wife, Sue, was born. He used to be a frequent artist on the stage at many working men's clubs like his contemporary, Joe Cocker.
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Born in Brooklyn, New York City, by his late teens Greenfield formed a songwriting partnership with Neil Sedaka, a friend whom he had first met as a teenager when they both lived in the same apartment building, in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn.Greenfield was educated at Abraham Lincoln High School.
Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.
Brighton Beach is a neighborhood in the southern portion of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, along the Coney Island peninsula and facing the Atlantic Ocean. Brighton Beach is bounded by Coney Island proper at Ocean Parkway to the west, Manhattan Beach at Corbin Place to the east, Sheepshead Bay at the Belt Parkway to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south along the beach and boardwalk.
Their first recorded compositions took up both sides of the 1956 non-charting debut single by the Tokens, of which Sedaka (but not Greenfield) was briefly a member.They then went on to supply the song "Passing Time" to the Cookies, as well as other non-hit singles to doo-wop and groups the Clovers and the Cardinals. At this point, though their songs were being recorded, the income derived from these songs was minimal, and Greenfield worked as a messenger for National Cash Register.
The Tokens are an American male doo-wop-style vocal group and record production company group from Brooklyn, New York. They are known best for their chart-topping 1961 single, "The Lion Sleeps Tonight".
The Cookies were an American R&B girl group active from 1954 to 1967. Members of the original lineup later became the Raelettes, the backing vocalists for Ray Charles.
The Clovers are an American rhythm and blues/doo-wop vocal group who became one of the biggest selling acts of the 1950s. They had a top thirty US hit in 1959 with the Leiber and Stoller song "Love Potion No. 9".
In 1958, Greenfield and Sedaka signed to Al Nevins and Don Kirshner's Aldon Music as songwriters, which had offices at 1650 Broadway in New York. (The company later moved to the Brill Building.) In their first year there, Greenfield and Sedaka wrote material for Jimmy Clanton and Bobby Darin, [ citation needed ]and scored their first major pop hit single with Connie Francis' "Stupid Cupid", which hit #14 on the US pop charts in September 1958. They also wrote Francis' later hits, "Fallin'", "Frankie", and the "Theme to Where the Boys Are ," the film in which she starred.
When, in 1958, Sedaka signed to RCA Records as a solo artist, he and Greenfield composed a string of hits for Sedaka to record – among them "The Diary", "Oh! Carol", "Stairway to Heaven", "Calendar Girl", "Little Devil", "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen", "Next Door to an Angel" and the chart-topping "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do". Sedaka's recordings eventually sold a combined 25 million records.
As Sedaka's promotional and touring commitments began taking up more and more of his time, Kirshner encouraged Greenfield to collaborate with other Aldon writers. Beginning in 1960, Greenfield began a regular collaboration with Jack Keller; they would write songs together every Monday and Wednesday for six straight years.
Successful Greenfield/Keller collaborations included two consecutive US #1 hits for Connie Francis, "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" and "My Heart Has a Mind of Its Own". They wrote another Francis top 10 hit, "Breakin' in a Brand New Broken Heart", Jimmy Clanton's top 10 hit "Venus in Blue Jeans", as well as songs recorded by Frank Sinatra, Ernest Tubb, Patti Page and Brenda Lee. [ citation needed ]Greenfield and Keller also supplied the theme music for U.S. television programs such as Gidget , Bewitched and The Flying Nun .
Greenfield also collaborated with other Aldon songwriters, including Helen Miller, with whom he co-wrote "Foolish Little Girl" (the Shirelles' final Top Ten hit), "It Hurts to Be in Love", originally intended for Neil Sedaka but ultimately recorded by Gene Pitney, as well as a new theme for the TV series Hazel for its fourth season.He also collaborated with Bill Buchanan recording a novelty record called "The Invasion" as Buchanan and Greenfield in 1964.
As well, Greenfield's one and only collaboration with Aldon songwriter Carole King resulted in "Crying in the Rain", a top ten hit for the Everly Brothers in 1962. The collaboration came about when, on a whim, two Aldon songwriting partnerships decided to switch partners for a day—Gerry Goffin (who normally worked with King) partnered with Jack Keller, leaving King and Greenfield to work as a pair for the day. Despite the commercial success of their collaboration, King and Greenfield never wrote another song together.
Sedaka and Greenfield also continued to work together as Sedaka's schedule allowed. After Sedaka's singing career cooled in 1963, they kept writing hits for other artists, including the 5th Dimension's and Tom Jones' "Puppet Man".
Greenfield moved to Los Angeles in 1966,but still continued to collaborate with Sedaka and Keller, both of whom moved to California within a year or two of Greenfield.
Sedaka began working with other lyricists in 1970, though he and Greenfield still occasionally worked together after this time; Sedaka and Greenfield ended their songwriting partnership in 1973. Their last collaboration, appropriately named "Our Last Song Together," would be a minor hit for Bo Donaldson and The Heywoods. In 1975, their song "Love Will Keep Us Together" (originally recorded by Sedaka in 1973) topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in a cover version by Captain & Tennille, as well as earning a Grammy Award for Record of the Year. This version of "Love..." was the best-selling single of the year.
Though no new compositions of Greenfield's charted after this time, Sedaka had a substantial hit in 1975 with a drastically re-arranged version of the Greenfield/Sedaka composition "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do". As well, a re-release of the Greenfield/Sedaka song "Is This The Way To Amarillo" (originally a UK hit for Tony Christie in 1971) became the UK's best-selling record of 2005.
Greenfield was openly gay,although during the era in which he lived it was unusual to be open about this. His companion from the early 1960s to his death was cabaret singer Tory Damon (September 29, 1939 – March 30, 1986); the two lived together in an apartment on East 63rd Street in Manhattan before moving to California in 1966.
Greenfield died in Los Angeles in 1986 from complications from AIDS, eleven days before his 50th birthday. He was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Damon died from AIDS complications a few days later and is buried next to Greenfield.
In 1991, Greenfield was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
"After Howie's mother Ella had seen me, he came ringing my doorbell. I was playing Chopin, and he said, My mother heard you play and thought we could write a song together". – Neil Sedaka, in Goldmine magazine, recalling this event.
Gerald Goffin was an American lyricist. Writing initially with his wife Carole King, he co-wrote many international pop hits of the early and mid-1960s, including the US No.1 hits "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", "Take Good Care of My Baby", "The Loco-Motion", and "Go Away Little Girl". It was later said of Goffin that his gift was "to find words that expressed what many young people were feeling but were unable to articulate."
Donald Clark Kirshner, known as The Man With the Golden Ear, was an American music publisher, rock music producer, talent manager, and songwriter. He was best known for managing songwriting talent as well as successful pop groups, such as the Monkees, Kansas, and the Archies.
Carl Sigman was an American songwriter.
Aldon Music was a New York-based music publishing company, founded by Don Kirshner and Al Nevins in 1958. Aldon is regarded as having played a significant role in shaping the Brill Building Sound in the late 1950s and 1960s.
"Crying in the Rain" is a song written by Howard Greenfield and Carole King and originally recorded by The Everly Brothers. The single peaked at #6 on the U.S. pop charts in 1962.
The Tra-La Days Are Over is a 1973 album by American singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka. The album was the second to be produced at Strawberry Studios in England in collaboration with Graham Gouldman, Lol Creme, Kevin Godley and Eric Stewart, who had formed the band 10cc since their first joint venture with Sedaka on Solitaire (1972).
Debby Boone is a 1979 album by Debby Boone and her third solo studio album for Warner Bros./Curb. Unlike Boone's previous two albums, 1977's You Light Up My Life and 1978's Midstream, this album did not reach any Billboard album chart.
"Stupid Cupid" is a song written by Howard Greenfield and Neil Sedaka which became a hit for Connie Francis in 1958.
Rock with Neil Sedaka or just Neil Sedaka is the first major solo album of Neil Sedaka released in 1959 after two 1958 albums under the titles Neil Sedaka and The Tokens and Neil Sedaka and The Tokens and Coins. The album was released by RCA Victor and was produced by Al Nevins. The album contains 12 songs, all of them co-written by Sedaka and his friend Howard Greenfield. Two of the songs became successful singles for Sedaka from the album, namely "The Diary", his debut single that was a hit, reaching No. 14 on the US Billboard charts, and "I Go Ape", a single that was relatively successful in the United States reaching No. 42, but did far better in the UK Singles Chart, making it up to No. 9 and his debut single in the United Kingdom.
Neil Sedaka Sings Little Devil and His Other Hits is a solo album by Neil Sedaka released in 1961 immediately after the cover versions of earlier hits in Circulate.
Oh! Carol: The Complete Recordings, 1955-66 is an eight CD box set of songs by Neil Sedaka. It was released in 2003 on Bear Family Records. The compilation is an almost exhaustive set of Sedaka's songs for the 1955 to 1966 period, encompassing 112 tunes. Most notably it includes his hits in English, as well as translations of his songs in German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Hebrew.
Albert "Al" Nevins was an American musician, producer, arranger, guitarist and violinist. He was also a member of pop trio The Three Suns, and is considered one of the major forces behind the evolution of the 1950s music into the early 1960s pop/rock music.
A Song is an in-studio album containing the works of American pop star Neil Sedaka. It was produced by George Martin and released in 1977 on the Elektra label in the US, marking the beginning of Sedaka's association with Elektra, which would run through 1981. Outside of the US, A Song was released on the Polydor label.
Neil Sedaka: Now is a studio album by American songwriter and pop star Neil Sedaka. It was released in 1981 on the Elektra label, and it was the last Sedaka album to be released on that label. As with other Neil Sedaka albums of that period, it was released in Europe on the Polydor label.
"Where the Boys Are" is a song written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield for, and first recorded by, Connie Francis as the title track of the 1960 movie by the same name in which she was co-starring.
Helen Miller was an American songwriter. She collaborated with several lyricists, notably Howard Greenfield in the early 1960s, and with him wrote several pop hits, including "Foolish Little Girl" by The Shirelles, and "It Hurts To Be In Love" by Gene Pitney.