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Music Legend Neil Sedaka on WCNY’s CIAO! May 6 and 13

Joey Nigro, host of “CIAO!” on WCNY-FM, will present the first part of her exclusive interview with legendary singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 6, on Classic FM.

Among other topics, Sedaka will discuss the songs he recorded in Italian 50 years ago.

“This is the first American interview on my Italian language recordings because nobody knows  . . . and I’m so delighted!’’ Sedaka told Nigro. “I was doing concerts in Italy in the early 1960s when RCA Italiana brought me into the studio to record some of my hit songs in Italian and original Italian songs written for me. And the results were quite stunning.”

Hosted by Nigro and Jim Battaglia, “CIAO!” is Central New York’s only Italian-American radio show. Airing from 3 to 4 p.m. Sundays on Classic FM 91.3 in Syracuse, 89.5 in Utica and 90.9 in Watertown, “CIAO!” features memorable music, discussions on a variety of topics, and interviews with Italian-American celebrities and local people who have stories to tell.

The Neil Sedaka interview will air in two parts on May 6 and 13. After each show, fans will be able to listen to the interview on WCNY’s website at www.wcny.org/ciao.

Sedaka, who turned 73 in March, has composed more than 500 songs, sold millions of records,  won a Grammy Award, and has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His No. 1 hits in the United States include “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” (1962 and 1975), “Laughter in the Rain” (1975), and “Bad Blood” (1975-76). He also wrote or co-wrote several big hits, including “Love Will Keep Us Together,” the No. 1 song in 1975 for The Captain & Tennille.

In 1963, Sedaka scored a No. 1 hit in Italy with “La Terza Luna” (“Waiting For Never”). He recorded nearly 50 songs in Italian in the early 1960s and sent the CDs to Nigro so she could play the songs on “CIAO!”

“The Italian people embraced me because I could sing in their language,” Sedaka told Nigro. “I opened my concerts with ‘Sono molto contento di cantare le mi canzone per voi’ – ‘I’m happy to sing my songs for you.’ ”

Nigro said she was fascinated by the history of Sedaka’s Italian recordings and thrilled to learn that “CIAO!” had scored a “first” with Sedaka and will bring these songs and his memories to an American audience.

“We have played Italian language recordings of rock artists like Stevie Wonder and Jimmy Ruffin and Sedaka’s ‘Esagerata’ and ‘Tu Non Lo Sai,’ his Italian language recordings of ‘Little Devil’ and ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,’ ” Nigro said. “But we were stunned to find out that Sedaka recorded 45 Italian language songs!”

Stay tuned for future “CIAO!” shows featuring co-host Jim Battaglia’s interviews with singer and actor Julius Rosa, and movie and television actor Dominic Chianese (Corrado “Junior” Soprano on “The Sopranos”).

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