“Neil Sedaka – Laughter In The Rain”

Rise to fame with RCA Victor: the late 1950s 

After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School, Sedaka and some of his classmates formed a band called The Tokens. The band had minor regional hits with songs like “While I Dream”, “I Love My Baby”, “Come Back, Joe”, and “Don’t Go”, before Sedaka launched out on his own in 1957. Eventually, after a few personnel changes, in 1961, the Tokens hit No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts with the international smash “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. Meanwhile, the very young Sedaka’s first three solo singles, “Laura Lee”, “Ring-a-Rockin'”, and “Oh, Delilah!” failed to become hits (although “Ring-a-Rockin'” earned him the first of many appearances on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand), but they demonstrated his ability to perform as a solo singer, so RCA Victor signed him to a recording contract.

His first single for RCA Victor, “The Diary”, was inspired by Connie Francis, one of Sedaka and Greenfield’s most important clients, while the three were taking a temporary break during their idea-making for a new song. Francis was writing in her diary, Sedaka asked if he could read it, and Connie promptly replied with a “no.” After Little Anthony and the Imperials passed on the song, Sedaka recorded it himself, and his debut single hit the Top 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 14 in 1958.

However, his next two singles did not fare so well. His second single, a novelty tune titled “I Go Ape”, just missed the Top 40, peaking at No. 42 but it became a more successful single in the United Kingdom with a No. 9. The third single, “Crying My Heart Out for You”, was a commercial failure, missing the Hot 100 entirely, peaking at No. 111 but it also became a very successful single on the pop charts in Italy with a No. 6. RCA Victor had lost money on “I Go Ape” and “Crying My Heart Out For You” and was ready to drop Sedaka from their label. But Sedaka’s manager, Al Nevins, persuaded the RCA executives to give him one last chance.

Knowing he would not get another chance if he failed again, and desperate for another hit, Sedaka himself bought the three biggest hit singles of the time and listened to them repeatedly, studying the song structure, chord progressions, lyrics and harmonies—and he discovered that the hit songs of the day all shared the same basic musical anatomy. Armed with his newfound arsenal of musical knowledge, he set out to craft his next big hit song, and he promptly did exactly that: “Oh! Carol” delivered Sedaka his first domestic Top 10 hit, reaching No. 9 on the Hot 100 in 1959 and going to No. 1 on the Italian pop charts in 1960, giving Sedaka his first No. 1 ranking. In the UK, the song spent a total of 17 weeks in the top 40, peaking at No. 3 (4 weeks).[5] In addition, the B-side, “One Way Ticket”, reached No. 1 on the pop charts in Japan. Sedaka had dated Carole King when he was still at high school, which gave him the idea to use her name in the song. Gerry Goffin – King’s husband – took the tune, and wrote the playful response “Oh! Neil”, which King recorded and released as an unsuccessful single the same year.[6][7][8][9] Thus, this was the only time the melody of the song was used by a popular artist and a future sensation around the same time.

Big hits in the early 1960s 

After establishing himself in 1958, Sedaka kept churning out new hits from 1960 to 1962. His flow of Top 30 hits during this period included: “Stairway to Heaven” (No. 9, 1960); “You Mean Everything to Me” (No. 17, 1960); “Run, Samson, Run” (No. 27, 1960); “Calendar Girl” (No. 4, 1961; also reached No. 1 on the Japanese and Canadian pop charts); “Little Devil” (No. 11, 1961); “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen” (No. 6, 1961); his signature song, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” (No. 1, two weeks: August 11 and 18, 1962); and “Next Door to an Angel” (No. 5, 1962). Singles not making the Top 30 during this period included “Sweet Little You” (No. 59, 1961) and “King of Clowns” (No. 45, 1962). RCA Victor issued four LPs of his works in the United States and Great Britain during this period, and also produced Scopitone and Cinebox videos of “Calendar Girl” in 1961, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” in 1962, and “The Dreamer” in 1963. (His second LP was the only one made in the big band style with songs combined in a single record.) He made regular appearances on such TV programs as American Bandstand and Shindig! during this period.




MORNING rises to a dawn of a new day;

your spirit canvassing for an 

unconscious state of ease, 

of solitude,

a SOLACE where no noise can impede;

but then-

SUNLIGHT YAWNS a gentle warmth 

thru its BLEND of RAYS-

Chirping birds prelude the opening 

curtains of your mind-  


which AWAKENS into  

soft imageries, 

passionately spewed over…  

 into pastelly highlights,

 a frolic of

splattered dewfall, 

prisms beaming upon the 

window panes of morning’s magic.


You then drift into a CONSCIOUSNESS 

Of perfect moments.

NATURE is beautiful with boundless 

abstracts of still life paintings.

©David Dean/AOC


Posted by on 04/10 in reflections



Menu In The Sky – New Zealand (South Pacific)

How comfortable would you be, having an exquisite, delicious meal midair New Zealand?

“Dinner in the Sky is a hosted dining table, suspended at a height of 50 metres by a team of professionals”.

New Zealand’s cuisine is largely driven by local ingredients and seasonal variations. An island nation with a primarily agricultural economy, New Zealand yields produce from land and sea. Similar to the cuisine of Australia, the cuisine of New Zealand is a diverse British-based cuisine, with Mediterranean and Pacific Rim influences as the country becomes more cosmopolitan.

Historical influences came from Māori cultureNew American cuisineSoutheast AsianEast Asian, and South Asian culinary traditions have become popular since the 1970s.

In New Zealand households, dinner is the main meal of the day, when families gather and share their evening together. Restaurants and takeaways provide an increasing proportion of the diet.

Māori cuisineEdit

hāngi dinner as served to tourists.

When the indigenous Māori arrived in New Zealand from tropical Polynesia they had a number of food plants, including kūmara (sweet potato), taro and . The plants grew well only in the north of the North Island. Native New Zealand plants such as fernroot became a more important part of the diet, along with insects such as the huhu grub. Problems with horticulture were made up for by an abundance of bird and marine life. The large flightless moa were soon hunted to extinction.[citation needed] Rāhui (resource restrictions) included forbidding the hunting of certain species in particular places or at certain times of year, so that the numbers could regenerate.

Preparation of a modern hāngi for tourists at Mitai Maori Village, Rotorua.

Like other Polynesian people, Māori cooked food in earth ovens, known in New Zealand as hāngi, although the word umu is also used[citation needed] as in other Pacific languages. Stones are heated by fire and food packed in leaves are placed on top. The packs are further covered with foliage and cloth, or, wet sacks, then earth. Other cooking methods included roasting and, in geothermal areas, boiling or steaming using natural hot springs and pools. Occasionally food would be boiled in non-geothermal areas by putting hot stones into a bowl with water and the food; and some food was also cooked over the open fire. Some foods were preserved using smoke, air-drying, or layers of fat—particularly muttonbirds. Māori were one of the few people to have no form of alcoholic beverage.

“Dinner at Sky Tower, Auckland” 




Believe In Yourself!

Image share: Gilbert Tarronas Opena (facebook)


Don’t Let Promotion Anxiety Derail Your Career

Gill Corkindale

Many of us dream about the moment when we get that longed-for promotion. Imagine that it’s yours: a great step up the career ladder, huge responsibility, a bigger team and a whopping pay rise.

It all happens so quickly: your predecessor gives you a fast handover, you meet your new team and peers, and your boss sets your objectives for the year. After a whirlwind few days, you walk into your new corner office (if you are really lucky), sit behind your new desk and savour your success.

But what happens next? For anyone who has been in this situation, the answer is not straightforward. Because from this moment on, whatever happens is your responsibility. You are the boss. You have to take the difficult decisions, make the judgment calls and perhaps even define your own role. And there will be the massive unspoken expectation — from your team, your peers, and your boss — that you will know exactly what to do.

A few unshakeably confident executives launch straight into action, but for most new leaders, this is a moment of unspeakable anxiety and uncertainty. Ironically, the greatest triumph of their careers is also defined by loneliness. And for some, that can be psychologically very disturbing.

Take Antony, 35, newly promoted to the board after his stellar success as marketing director of a FTSE 250 company. He had risen inexorably through the ranks and was tipped by the chairman to be the next CEO. After a busy few days, he was due to attend his first main board meeting. As he walked towards the boardroom, he felt a peculiar sense of detachment from the scene around him. He was aware of familiar faces greeting and congratulating him, but for some reason, he couldn’t hear what they were saying — it was as if a glass window was separating him from them. He was watching them speak but couldn’t hear the words they were saying

Ten minutes later, as they sat around the table, he began to feel dizzy. His heart was pounding and he broke into a sweat. Then he became aware that the room had fallen silent and that everyone was looking at him. The chairman stared intently at him and repeated a question. Suddenly overwhelmed by anxiety, he rose up, pushed away his chair and dashed to the door. Only when he felt the cool air on his face outside the building did he feel the sense of panic subside.

Back in the boardroom, the chairman asked what had just happened. The Antony they’d known until this point — a talented leader with a strong track record, a winning personality, and a cool head in a crisis — had just bolted from the room after being asked a simple factual question. This is not what they had expected on his first day as a board member.

A day or so later, Antony felt able to explain what had happened to a colleague. While he’d felt very confident at the outset, as he approached the boardroom he began to panic, sensing that everyone expected that he knew what to do, what to say and what to expect. Fearing that he wouldn’t be able to control the panic, he left the room as quickly as he could. He tried to figure out why he had acted that way. Later that day it clicked. The last time he had felt such panic was after the death of his father 15 years before: he had not known what to do then, but he had been confronted with a similar same sense of expectation from his family. Suppressing his own grief, he had acted then as though he knew what to do, although inside he was panicking.

It was clear that his new role had provoked a similar degree of anxiety that had stirred up deep and unresolved feelings from his past. Fortunately, Antony recovered his equanimity and was successful in his new role. Yet some executives fall victim to an overwhelming anxiety that derails them at exactly the moment when their careers should be soaring.

So what can be done? From my conversations with leaders in this situation and from my own experience, I suggest you consider some of the following questions:

  • Where is your support? Do you have a strong ally, mentor or coach to lean on during the first few months of your new role?
  • What is your plan for the first few months?
  • What are your priorities for your new role?
  • What do you need to achieve in the first week, month, or quarter? Are your priorities focused on tasks, targets, people, structure, culture, mood or vision?
  • What kind of personal impression do you want to make from the outset?
  • What are your values and what is your leadership style?
  • What is in your control and what is outside your control?
  • How will you reconcile yourself with these?
  • What kind of balance do you need to strike between observing, listening and questioning and communicating, making decisions and taking action?
  • Whom do you need to influence most? Boss, stakeholders, team or peers?
  • And what kind of network do you have?
  • Do you really understand the culture and politics of the organisation? If not, how can you find out and who will guide you?
  • Who will give you honest and constructive feedback about your performance and help you understand others’ perceptions of you?
  • How much time will you set aside for yourself to gain perspective, and develop your strategy and vision?
  • What is your contribution across the organisation?
  • How can you support your peers, your boss and other teams to achieve their objectives?

These are my thoughts on this subject — as always, I welcome your ideas and contributions. Have you ever found yourself in an anxiety-inducing situation similar to the one described above? If so, what did you do? And what would you recommend others do in the face of such circumstances?



Chandelier – Sia

Chandelier – Sia

“Chandelier” is a song by Australian singer Siafrom her sixth studio album, 1000 Forms of Fear (2014). Written by Sia and Jesse Shatkinand produced by Shatkin and Greg Kurstin, the song was released on 17 March 2014 as the lead single from the album. It is an electropopsong, featuring electronica, R&B and reggaeinfluences. Lyrically, the song has a melancholic theme, detailing the demoralisation and rationalisation of alcoholism through the typical thought process of a “party girl”. source


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George Alan O’Dowd (born 14 June 1961), known professionally as Boy George, is an English singer, songwriter, DJ, fashion designer and photographer. He is the lead singer of the Grammy and Brit Award-winning pop band Culture Club. At the height of the band’s fame, during the 1980s, they recorded global hit songs such as “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”, “Time (Clock of the Heart)” and “Karma Chameleon” and George was known for his soulful voice and androgynous appearance. He was part of the English New Romantic movement which emerged in the late 1970s to the early 1980s.

His music is often classified as blue-eyed soul, which is influenced by rhythm and blues and reggae. He was lead singer of Jesus Loves You during the period 1989–1992. His 1990s and 2000s-era solo music has glam influences, such as David Bowie and Iggy Pop. More recently, he has released fewer music recordings, splitting his time between songwriting, DJing, writing books, designing clothes and photography.

Boy George – Do You Really Want To Hurt Me Lyrics

Give me time
To release my crime
Let me love and steal
I have danced
Inside your eyes
How can love be real
Do you really want to hurt me
Do you really want to
Make me cry
Precious kisses
Words that burn me
Lovers never ask you why
In my heart
The fires burning
Choose my colour
Find a star
Precious people always tell me
That’s a step
A step too far
*Do you really want to hurt me
Do you really want to
Make me cry
Do you really want to hurt me
Do you really want to
Make me cry
Words are few
I have spoken
I could waste a thousand years
Wrapped in sorrow
Words are token
Come inside/and catch my tears
You’ve been talking
But believe me
If it’s true
You do not know
This boy loves without a reason
I’m prepared
To let you go
If it’s love you want from me
Then take it away
Everything is not what you see
It’s over again

“Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” is a song written and recorded by the British new wave band Culture Club. Released as a single in September 1982 from the group’s platinum-selling debut album Kissing to Be Clever, it was the band’s first UK #1 hit. In the United States, the single was released in November 1982 and also became a huge hit, reaching #2 for three weeks.



“Betcha By Golly, Wow” the Stylistics

Betcha by Golly, Wow” is a song written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed that was originally recorded by Connie Stevens as “Keep Growing Strong” on the Bell Records label in 1970. The composition later scored a hit when it was released by the Philadelphia soul group The Stylistics in 1972.
The Stylistics are a Philadelphia soul group that achieved its greatest chart success in the 1970s. They formed in 1968, consisting of singersRussell Thompkins Jr., Herb …

Origin‎: ‎Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S
Past members‎: ‎Russell Thompkins Jr. James Dunn; James Smith; Raymond Johnson; …Members‎: ‎Airrion Love; Herbie Murrell; Harold Eban Brown; Jason Sharp; Michael Muse
Years active‎: ‎1968–presentMembers‎: ‎Airrion Love; Herbie Murrell; Harold Eban Brown; Jason Sharp; Michael Muse
Years active‎: ‎1968–present

Members‎: ‎Airrion Love; Herbie Murrell; Harold Eban Brown; Jason Sharp; Michael Muse
Years active‎: ‎1968–present

Members‎: ‎Airrion Love; Herbie Murrell; Harold Eban Brown; Jason Sharp; Michael Muse
Years active‎: ‎1968–present


Posted by on 04/10 in r&b, soul oldies


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