Now playing at the Proms: Happy birthday, sweet sixteen

Now playing at the Proms: Happy birthday, sweet sixteen


norman lebrecht

August 08, 2010

The BBC has just let it be known that Neil Sedaka will join the Last Night of the Proms in an extra-mural capacity – that is to say, singing for the outdoor crowds in Hyde Park with other denizens of Memory Lane, including Kiri Te Kanawa, Jose Carreras and Brian May.

And who said popular music is strictly for the kids?

Press release follows:


Saturday 11 September 2010, Hyde Park, London

Stellar line-up also includes internationally acclaimed opera stars Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and José Carreras

Sir Terry Wogan presents with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Martin Yates

Neil Sedaka is to perform at this year’s BBC Proms in the Park in Hyde Park – the annual Last Night of the Proms extravaganza broadcast live on BBC Radio 2. Now in its 15th year, BBC Proms in the Park has become Britain’s largest outdoor classical music event and is once again expected to attract around 40,000 music-lovers to join the fun and the magic of the nationwide Last Night of the Proms celebrations.

With a career that spans over five decades, singer-songwriter and pianist Neil Sedaka has recorded, written and produced a glittering catalogue of Rock ‘n’ Roll hits. Having amassed 20 US top 40 hits, an Ivor Novello Award and a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Neil has remained a household name through the years with hits including ‘Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen’, ‘Stupid Cupid’  and ‘Breaking Up is Hard to Do’. Neil’s work as a song-writer has seen him pen hits for artists including The Carpenters, Elvis Presley and of course Tony Christie, with ‘Is This the Way to Amarillo’ recently revived by the comedian Peter Kay to become the UK’s best-selling single of 2005.

Of his BBC Proms in the Park appearance, Neil says:

‘I am honoured to be invited to perform at BBC Proms in the Park and delighted to be sharing the stage with such illustrious company. England has always been a second home to me. For all my fans who have remained so loyal and supportive through the years, I will be singing many of my hits. I have been told this is one of the world’s largest classical music audiences and, as a former student of Classical music, I am thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful evening.’

Neil continues to record extensively as well as performing and touring across the globe throughout 2010. His life and music have become a source of inspiration-the musical comedy ‘Breaking Up is Hard to Do’, premiered in 2005, was based on the songs of Neil Sedaka, while the producers Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield premiered their biographical musical, ‘Laughter in the Rain – The Neil Sedaka Story’ at the Churchill Theatre, London, in March 2010.

Neil Sedaka completes a star-studded line-up that includes the award-winning soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (who will perform with the winner of the Radio 2 Kiri Prize, the station’s opera initiative) and the return of one third of the world-famous Three Tenors, José Carreras. Also confirmed to perform are West End and Broadway star Kerry Ellis and legendary Queen guitarist Brian May, as well as the BBC Concert Orchestra under the baton of Martin Yates.

The event culminates in a live video link-up with the Royal Albert Hall and a nationwide sing-along to the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic You’ll Never Walk Alone as well as the Last Night of the Proms favourites Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem. As ever, crowds are encouraged to bring picnics and flags, to sing along and enjoy the music and firework finale.

Acclaimed Abba tribute band Björn Again, Nell Bryden, Serpentine Fire and the cast of the renowned West End musical Jersey Boys start the entertainment in the afternoon’s warm-up events, hosted by BBC Radio 2 presenter Ken Bruce. This year’s Proms in the Park follows the success of last year’s event, which featured Barry Manilow, Katherine Jenkins and Garðar Thór Cortes.

Proms in the Park fans across the UK are able to tune in to the concert live on BBC Radio 2, by pressing the red button during the Last Night of the Proms on BBC TV, or by catching up on BBC iPlayer for seven days after the event. 

Now an integral part of the UK’s musical calendar, BBC Proms in the Park in Hyde Park celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2010 and is once again hosted by Sir Terry Wogan. The event is one of five major Last Night of the Proms celebrations staged across the UK by the BBC on Saturday 11 September. The others will be held in County Down, Dundee, Swansea and Salford, bringing the magic of the Last Night of the Proms to many thousands of music-lovers around the UK.

Audiences can also join the Last Night of the Proms celebrations via one of the BBC Big Screens around the country – and there are more than ever in 2010, in Birmingham (Victoria Square), Bradford (Centenary Square), Bristol (Millennium Square), Cardiff (The Hayes), Derby (Market Place), Dover (Market Square), Edinburgh (Festival Square), Leeds (Millennium Square), Leicester (Humberstone Gate), Liverpool (Clayton Square), Manchester (Exchange Square), Middlesbrough (Centre Square), Norwich (Chapelfield Plain), Plymouth (Armada Way), Portsmouth (Guildhall Square), Swindon (Wharf Green), Waltham Forest (Walthamstow Town Square) and Woolwich (General Gordon Place).


Listings information

BBC Proms in the Park, Hyde Park, London

BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Martin Yates.

Hosted by Sir Terry Wogan

Line-up: Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, José Carreras, Neil Sedaka, Brian May, Kerry Ellis

Pre-broadcast entertainment hosted by Ken Bruce

Line-up: Björn Again, Nell Bryden, the cast of Jersey Boys, Serpentine Fire

Gates open 4.00pm; entertainment on stage from 5.30pm. Tickets: £30 (under-3s free) Telephone booking: See Tickets on 0844 412 4630 (a transaction fee of £2.00, plus a booking fee of £1.25 per ticket applies) and from the Royal Albert Hall on 0845 401 5040 (a transaction fee of 2% of the total value, plus £2.10 per ticket applies) or online at (transaction fees vary, see website for details).


  • mary jane says:

    Thanks for this info! Neil Sedaka is a living legend! Have you seen this recent interview? Love him!