Neil Sedaka

Platinum & Gold Collection

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Neil Sedaka's Platinum & Gold Collection gathers up 12 of the legendary performer and songwriter's hits from the early '60s. Sedaka the performer had a pleasingly innocent voice and a charmingly dorky persona that helped make some of these songs timeless classics. As a songwriter he had a knack for composing instantly memorable melodies that would have been hits no matter who was singing them. The first three songs on Platinum & Gold are his three biggest early hits: "Calendar Girl," "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do," and "Oh! Carol" are classic pop, influenced by doo wop and easily hummed by everyone from little kids to grannies. The rest of the disc is in the same easygoing pop vein: cute ("Stairway to Heaven," "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen"), dramatic ("You Mean Everything to Me"), and dreamy ("The Diary, the Dreamer"). The cuts that may surprise casual Sedaka fans are the wild rocker "I Go Ape," which contains the immortal lyrics (courtesy of collaborator Howard Greenfield) "Ranga-tanga-ling-ting-tong/I'm related to old King Kong," and the fairly tough-sounding girl group-style ballad "Bad Girl," which features some wonderfully sassy female-backing vocals. This disc is 30 minutes of easygoing, wholesome, and supremely melodic pop pleasure. The only thing that wrecks the fun is the knowledge that RCA put out The Very Best of Neil Sedaka in 2001, which covers the exact same territory as Platinum & Gold; in fact, the two collections share 11 songs. The Very Best of Neil Sedaka has a total of 14 songs, contains the wonderfully titled "Run Samson Run," and retails for less money, so get it instead.

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