Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Immigrant (Neil Sedaka one of THE Great songwriters)

In the comments about the British Invasion story Neil Sedaka's name came up and it reminded me of what is my favourite song about John Lennon. Sedaka's parents were Turkish (father's side) and Polish/Russian (mother's side) so he felt strongly about the whole concept of being an immigrant. Sedaka was inspired to write the song to contrast the U.S. government's refusal to grant Lennon resident alien status. The lyrics are brilliant.

Harbours opened their arms to the young searching foreigner
Come to live in the light of the beacon of liberty,
Planes and open skies, billboards would advertise.
Was it anything like that when you arrived?

Dreamboats carry the future to the heart of America.
People were waiting in line for a place by the river
It was a time when strangers were welcome here.
Music would play, they tell me the days were sweet and clear.
It was a sweeter tune and there was so much room that people could come from everywhere.

Now he arrives with his hopes and his heart set on miracles.
Come to marry his fortune with a hand full of promises to find they've closed the door, they don't want him anymore isn't anymore to go around.
Turning away he remembers he once heard a legend that spoke of a mystical magical land called America.

There was a time when strangers were welcome here

‘The Immigrant’ was written in the 70s during Sedaka's comeback years. His song writing talent has often gone over looked as he writes pop songs - not something that warrants much attention as an art form. In actual fact it is probably the most appreciated art form in the world. Sedaka’s ‘The Hungry Years’ dates from this purple patch of creativity, as does ‘Laughter in the Rain’, ‘Should have never let you go’ (one of the most romantic songs about lost love that I know) and ‘Solitaire’. All were written with Phil Cody, for more on Phil click HERE.


Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

No argument there - Neil Sedaka was one of the best.

Ellee Seymour said...

I remember buying his music, he has a very distinctive voice.

Richard Evans said...

Sedaka is pure pop. Brilliant songs, brilliant melodies. And yet my favourite of his is not a doo-wop ballad. 'I Go Ape' ranks alongside Little Richard and Jerry Lee as one of the best rock'n'roll records.

Richard Evans said...

And, of course, let us not forget that it was Neil Sedaka who wrote the first song called 'Stairway To Heaven'.

r morris said...

Another good immigrant song by a singer I can't stand is 'Coming to America' by Neil Diamond. It's maybe the only song I can listen to of his without feeling slightly woozy.

Richard Havers said...


I'm not a big Neil fan but I do love September Morn.

Philip Cody said...

Hi Richard . . .

I have a new website:

The immigrant is one of my favorites, too.

Phil Cody