Sedaka demonstrated musical aptitude in his second-grade choral class, and when his teacher sent a note home suggesting he take piano lessons, his mother took a part-time job in an Abraham & Straus department store for six months to pay for a second-hand upright. In 1947, he auditioned successfully for a piano scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music's Preparatory Division for Children, which he attended on Saturdays. His mother had wanted him to become a classical pianist like his contemporary Van Cliburn, and Sedaka continued to show fondness for (and capacity to play) classical music throughout his life.
Although it did not appear on his debut CD itself, Aiken recorded and added \"Solitaire\" as the B-side to the single \"The Way\", whose sales were faltering. \"Solitaire\" was quickly moved to the A-side, and radio airplay and single and download sales responded immediately. \"Solitaire\" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart and was, in fact, the top-selling single for all of 2004. It also hit the Top 5 on Billboard's Hot 100. Sedaka was invited back to American Idol to celebrate the success of \"Solitaire\" several times, as it continued to reach new milestones. Since then, Aiken has mined the Sedaka songbook again, recording a cover of probably Sedaka's best-known song, \"Breaking Up Is Hard to Do\", on the \"deluxe version\" of his 2010 CD release, Tried and True.
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High HurdlesFriday, June 8, 2012 Francis Bebey: African Electronic Music 1975-1982 (Born Bad)I first encountered this genial Camerounian savant via his pioneeringif romantic 1969 overview African Music: A People's Art. Butthough I knew from the book jacket that he'd worked for UNESCO andpublished novels, the albums that trickled my way--sanza exhibit, wanprotest songs, retrospective miscellany--seemed too schematicmusically. So I never grasped that this public intellectual was asuccessful creator of singing commercials and African hits until thisconceptually cockamamy attempt to stir up the hipsterati by linkingsongs notable for their jingle quotient to electronica. Created on aprimitive synthesizer in Paris, they're above all winning and catchy,their sonics almost as quaint as thumb piano by now. Though half arealso on La Condition Masculine, which is generally deemedBebey's best album, this selection is hookier from the just-released\"New Track,\" whose subject is white starchy foods, to \"The Coffee ColaSong,\" whose subject is the cash economy. Dieu merci, both arein English, which helps the French ones fit in--the instrumentalstoo. And \"Divorce pygmee\" and \"Pygmy Love Song\" have it both ways,clarifying between them the bemused respect with which thiscosmopolitan Protestant regards his native continent's profuselymusical peoples. A MINUS 1e1e36bf2d