Additional personnel: Stan Applebaum and His Orchestra.
All songs by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield except "Sweet Little You" (B. Mann/Larry Kolber).
Unknown Contributor Roles: Neil Sedaka; Stan Applebaum.
Arrangers: Alan Lorber; Stan Applebaum.
When RCA Records launched a new series of CD and cassette compilation albums under the name All Time Greatest Hits in March 1988, its first entries were by Neil Sedaka, Harry Belafonte, and Jos‚ Feliciano. The Sedaka album is just about foolproof, at least as far as the artist's 1960s RCA recordings are concerned. Among its 14 selections are all 12 of the tracks found on the late-1962 LP Neil Sedaka Sings His Greatest Hits, the two additions being the early-1963 singles "Alice in Wonderland" and "Let's Go Steady Again." That means 14 of Sedaka's first 15 Billboard chart singles are included (the exception being "I Go Ape," which got to number 42), accounting for all of his Top 40 hits prior to the 1970s except "Bad Girl," which reached number 33 late in 1963. With new digital processing for the CD era, the album's sound is excellent, making the collection a scrapbook of early-'60s pop. Sedaka is a master at doo wop-styled and light rock & roll arrangements, and he sings engagingly in his light, soaring tenor, frequently double-tracked. There is nothing here of any emotional weight, despite the constant focus on teenage romantic concerns, but the songs are irresistibly catchy. One might have hoped that RCA would take advantage of the CD's greater possible length to create a collection longer than 35 minutes, and there are no annotations at all (the inside of the one-page CD booklet is blank). But it's hard to argue with the contents, which neatly encapsulate Sedaka's first hitmaking era. ~ William Ruhlmann