Who We Are (Documentary)

Video Source: Anthony Chene production

Watch this amazing documentary film about who we are by Anthony Chene.

Who are we? What is consciousness? Where does it come from?
To what extent are we more than our physical body, our thoughts, and our emotions?
We have interviewed neuroscientists, meditators, survivors of near-death experiences, and various Ph.D. scientists, to find answers and try to figure out what is our relationship to the universe and who we really are, what is our deep nature.

A documentary by Anthony Chene: http://www.anthonychene.com

– Dr. Eben Alexander, MD (http://www.ebenalexander.com)
– John Butler (https://www.spiritualunfoldment.co.uk)
– Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D. (https://www.brucelipton.com)
– Anita Moorjani (https://www.anitamoorjani.com)
– Dean Radin, Ph.D. (http://www.deanradin.com)
– Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. (https://www.sheldrake.org)
– Marjorie Woollacott, Ph.D. (https://www.marjoriewoollacott.com)

When Will Jumanji 4 Be Released?

The fourth installment of the Jumanji franchise is one of the most anticipated events in the cinematographic world for the next year. Having two box-office hits in 2017 and 2019, and the classic movie from 1995, the fourth one is getting all the fans thrilling.

Jumanji 4 is already in its developmental stage and, even it is a long way until we will get a release date, we can have an idea about when it will happen.

The previous two movies, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Jumanji: The Next Level” were released both in December, two years apart (2017 and 2019). So we might as well hope that the fourth movie of the series will come out in December 2021. Then again, that is only a guess for the moment, and it may be delayed for 2022.

The development was ongoing months ago, so the end of the next year should be a reasonable date to have it on the big screens though. We haven’t got a trailer so far, and this one is expected for next summer the earliest, that being around July 2021.

The cast will most likely include the stars from the 2017 and 2019 big hits. We know that the director and producer of the previous two movies, Jake Kasdan, is working on the new movie also. Another thing that was brought to the public is the fact that the core cast from the recent movies will take back their roles.

What does that mean? Well, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, Nick Jonas and Alex Wolff will likely star in Jumanji 4. In the 2019 movie so Danny DeVito and Danny Glover, and there are no reasons why that couldn’t happen again – the same for Awkwafina.

Then there is the plot. Dwayne Johnson, who plays Dr. Xander “Smolder” Bravestone, the avatar of Eddie, said almost a year ago that a new character might appear in the sequel, so the fans are up for surprises. Johnson was referring at the fact that in the next movie it will be revealed that the villain in the 2019 installment was an avatar in the game, whose real-life identity will be further explored.

But while the plot is yet unknown, the Jumanji game, its characters and animals might as well come out into the real world, like the 1995 movie with Robin Williams did.

And we can recall how the 2019 movie ended. Without giving away any spoilers, that credits scene left us thinking of such a similar plot. “Not much beyond what you can see there”, said the director about the ending of the “Next Level”, but we won’t spoil that. Maybe when the producers will announce the final official title, more will be unveiled about the plot. “Full Circle” may be an option, according to Alex Wolff.

The franchise had a hug success so far, with box-office hits at the moment. The previous three movies grossed a combined over $2 billion worldwide.

The story of the magical board game and video game (in the 2017 and 2019 movies) with animals and other jungle elements that come to life was also developed into a TV series. There were video games, mobile games, and Virtual Reality experience too.

Jumanji became so popular, that there is a slot, Jumanji, available at Unibet Casino, released by NetEnt. You can choose this one from the slots game collection, and play with real money. It has an RTP of over 96%.

As for the movie, all we can rely on, beside what the director and the star Dwayne Johnson revealed, are fan theories with which we can go along. What we can really expect is that Jumanji 4 will be a similar blockbuster to the previous movies of the franchise.

Christopher Walken Crusades Against Global Corporate Behemoth, Monsanto, in New Film ‘Percy’

By Jeremy Loffredo | Children’s Health Defense

It’s not everyday Hollywood actors lend their celebrity to criticize corporate behemoths like Monsanto. Yet that’s exactly the case with the upcoming independent film ‘Percy,’ starring Christopher Walken and directed by Clark Johnson. The movie hits theaters Oct. 9 and is based on the true story of a legal battle between the agribusiness giant and an independent Canadian canola farmer, Percy Schmeiser.

Schmeiser’s real-life tale begins in 1996, a significant year for the history of genetically modified (GM) crops. It’s the year Canada became one of the first six countries to introduce GM seeds commercially, including seeds Monsanto engineered to tolerate its herbicide, Roundup.

Monsanto called this brand of seeds “Roundup Ready,” and by 1997, two farms bordering Schmeiser’s property entered into agreements to plant “Roundup Ready Canola.”

That year, Schmeiser found Monsanto’s GM canola seeds on his farm and saved some of them to plant the next year. Schmeiser had been saving seeds for decades, to plant the following season.

Schmeiser was a self-proclaimed “seed-saver.” He had been developing his own disease-resistant seeds for nearly 50 years. His technique of saving seeds and his pride in his work were the things that defined him.

So, when Monsanto sued him for patent infringement in 1998, it came as a complete surprise. He then found out that one of Monsanto’s private investigators had taken canola samples from a road alongside one of his fields and found Monsanto’s patented genetic material.

Monsanto requires that farmers who buy its seeds agree not to save any for replanting.  Yet since Schmeiser never purchased Roundup Ready seeds himself and hadn’t entered into such an agreement, Monsanto was telling him he committed a crime by simply planting seeds found on his own land.

The trial judge ruled in favor of Monsanto, writing that Schmeiser infringed upon Monsanto’s patent, which supported the company’s claim to own a living organism. When Schmeiser appealed, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the ruling — treating the seed like any other man-made patented good, setting a historic precedent.

“The ruling promises nothing less than a profit-driven genetic apocalypse,” Earth Island Journal wrote of the decision in 2001.

When Schmeiser eventually brought the case to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004, it ruled 5-4 against him, writing that he had violated Monsanto’s patent by growing canola with the Roundup Ready gene. “It’s not nearly the victory that we were looking for,” Schmeiser said of the decision at the time.

Yet the court also ruled 9-0 that Schmeiser didn’t have to pay Monsanto “one red cent,” as Schmeiser put it since he didn’t profit from the patented product.

Schmeiser saw the partial victory as positive since it was one of the first and most high-profile cases where a corporation claimed to hold a patent on life. “We brought the world’s attention to what GMOs [genetically modified organisms] do and what it could do to farmers,” Schmeiser told CBC in 2018.

Additionally, Schmeiser said that throughout the process, Monsanto employed carnivorous tactics in an effort to cripple him financially. “They tried to seize all our farmland, our farm equipment, so they could stop us because we were using mortgages on our farmland to pay for our legal bills,” Schmeiser told Democracy Now! in 2010.

Mongrel Media, the distributor of the film, sees the new film as a chance to get Schmeiser’s story out to a wider audience.

“Ultimately, through his David and Goliath battle, Percy helped stall the spread of GMOs, and the takeover of our food system by greed-driven corporate interests,” Mongrel Media stated. “It is with great anticipation that we await the release of the movie,” founder of Moms Across America Zen Honeycutt told Children’s Health Defense. “An exposé on how our food supply has been hijacked and monopolized by the likes of Monsanto is one that every human on the planet should see.”

Watch the trailer here:

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Press in His Pocket: Bill Gates Buys Media to Control the Messaging

By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Board Chair, Children’s Health Defense | Children’s Health Defense

Columbia Journalism Review expose reveals that, to control global journalism, Bill Gates has steered over $250 million to the BBC, NPR, NBC, Al Jazeera, ProPublicaNational JournalThe Guardian, the New York Times, Univision, Medium, the Financial TimesThe Atlantic, the Texas Tribune, Gannett, Washington MonthlyLe Monde, Center for Investigative Reporting, Pulitzer Center, National Press Foundation, International Center for Journalists, and a host of other groups. To conceal his influence, Gates also funneled unknown sums via subgrants for contracts to other press outlets.

His press bribes have paid off. During the pandemic, bought and brain-dead news outlets have treated Bill Gates as a public health expert—despite his lack of medical training or regulatory experience.

Gates also funds an army of independent fact checkers including the Poynter Institute and Gannett —which use their fact-checking platforms to “silence detractors” and to “debunk” as “false conspiracy theories” and “misinformation,” charges that Gates has championed and invested in biometric chipsvaccine identification systemssatellite surveillance, and COVID vaccines.

Gates’s media gifts, says CJR author Tim Schwab, mean that “critical reporting about the Gates Foundation is rare.” The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation declined multiple interview requests from CJR and refused to disclose how much money it has funneled to journalists.

In 2007, the LA Times published one of the only critical investigations on the Gates Foundation, exposing Gates’s holdings in companies that hurt people his foundation claims to help, like industries linked to child labor. Lead reporter Charles Piller, says, “They were unwilling to answer questions and pretty much refused to respond in any sort of way…”

The investigation showed how Gates’s global health funding has steered the world’s aid agenda toward Gates’ personal goals (vaccines and GMO crops) and away from issues such as emergency preparedness to respond to disease outbreaks, like the Ebola crisis.

[Read more here]

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.


Drop Everything and WATCH “Plandemic Indoctornation” – Then Share It With Everybody You Know

“We believe that this film will fundamentally shift the discourse around Coronavirus, the lockdown and the vested interests involved.” – Brian Rose, London Real

I just finished watching “Plandemic Indoctornation.” Wow! It absolutely blew my mind. This could be the most important film ever made regarding the current state of humanity, and more importantly, our future. Watch it and share. Everyone should see this vitally important film. You can watch this incredible documentary in its entirety for free here:


“Plandemic Indoctornation” is the most revelatory film on what is driving the vaccine agenda, the various roles of the WHO, CDC, Bill Gates, Tedros Adhanom, Anthony Fauci and more.

Going deep into what is really happening with mainstream media, Silicon Valley tech giants, big pharma and our health protection agencies, this new film by Mikki Willis connects all of the dots…




Editor’s note: The wait is nearly over! Judy Mikovits, the courageous scientist who knew Fauci back in the day and knows alot about what went on for decades at the National Institutes of Health, is back with the full movie promised by the short film Plandemic. It is called Plandemic Indoctornation and will debut on Brian Rose’s Digital Freedom Platform at London Real TV. You will find it at the following link: www.londonreal.tv/plandemic. Once you have seen the film, please share your thoughts in our comments section. We always like to hear your thoughts on the content shared here on Conscious Life News.

By Brian Rose | London Real


Hey, it’s Brian Rose from London real question for you. Do you remember that short 26 minute film called Plandemic that came out a few months ago and went massively viral around the world. Well, of course you do. It featured. Dr. Judy Mikovits, who we’ve had on the Digital Freedom Platform twice, and talked about her crazy story that she had behind the scenes with these massive agencies, like the CDC, people like Anthony Fauci, and all of the weird stuff going on with patents with vaccines and with viruses.

Well, guess what? The full feature length movie Plandemic Indoctrination is now complete. And I just watched a sneak peek of the film this morning, and it absolutely blew my mind! But I’ve got even better news. We will be premiering this film on the Digital Freedom Platform on August 18th at 5 p.m UK time (12 noon EST, 9am Pacific). And if you go to freedomplatform.tv/plandemic, you can pre-register.

This is a one-time only shot. And I’m so excited to be working with these massively talented filmmakers. You’re going to be blown away. This movie could literally change the world. It’s a game changer and it connects the dots of everything that we’ve been talking about here for the past four months at London Real: the reason we were censored, the reason we created the Digital Freedom Platform. And again, the quality of the film, the research done, I mean it’ll blow your mind.

And it really talks about what’s going on behind the scenes. It goes deep on how our media has been co-opted even sometimes by the CIA in the past 50 years. It talks about our technology platforms, our search engines, why the censorship is happening. It goes deep on the Anthony Fauci. It goes really deep on Bill Gates and the Bill and Melinda Foundation and how they are in bed with the WHO and how all of that is is completely co-opted. And again, I was absolutely blown away by this movie and I want you to watch it before those guys come (sirens in the background) and shut us down, because that will probably happen. We’ve had malicious attacks before and we’re expecting a lot of them now, but we’re getting ready.

It’s going to World premiere on Tuesday August 18th at 5 p.m UK, noon ET, 9am PT. And you can access that for free. Go to freedomplatform.tv/plandemic.

We are super honored to be entrusted with the world premiere of this incredible film. And again, I was really impressed and really blown away and if you’ve been a fan of the people we’ve been interviewing from Dr. Judy Mikovits, to Dr. Rachid Buttar, to Sherri Tenpenny, to a lot of the questions we had around vaccines like Robert F Kennedy and the whole question of censorship and why the technology platforms. How is Bill Gates involved? Why is Fauci there? Who owns the patents? All of this stuff is exposed and explained in this movie and you absolutely need to see that.

If there’s one piece of content that you watch this year, it is Plandemic the full feature length movie It’s called Indoctrination and it’s all about following the money, and that’s what shows you everything that’s happening behind the scenes. Again, incredible film makers involved and I’m pumped to be a part of it.

So again, go to freedomplatform.tv/plandemic. It’s happening and it’s going to be super exciting again. This is a one-time-only deal. So get on their pre-register show up early because I know our servers are going to be absolutely blasted with people from around the world wanting to watch this movie. Please screen record this thing and then share it as we know last time. It was banned on all the social media platforms all the technology giants. It was like whack-a-mole out there.

But we’re going to have a way for you to download it. We’re going to have clips and all that stuff hopefully, but be there, watch this thing live, and get a nice snapshot of it. And like I said, this is a game changer. I think it’ll actually change the n narrative of what’s happening out there. And we’re super excited to be a part of it. So big thanks to the filmmakers. They made a very brave and powerful film. And again it blew my mind this morning. I got to watch it, of course a couple days early and we’ll be streaming it live for you on the Digital Freedom Platform on August 18th 5 p.m UK time (noon Eastern, 9am Pacific).

It’s going to be epic! Looking forward to it. Peace.

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.

Pentagon’s Top-Secret UFO Unit to Brief Senate as Ex-Official Says ‘Off-World Vehicles’ Found

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

(TMU) – As secretive unit operating within the U.S. Department of Defense that is charged with investigating unidentified flying objects (UFOs) will make some of its findings public after it was revealed that the Pentagon has been recently briefed about “off-world vehicles not made on this earth.”

The once-covert UFO unit, which operates within the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence, will soon begin giving regular biannual updates on its research to the U.S. Senate’s Intelligence Committee, reports The New York Times.

The Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force was formed in 2019 for the purpose of studying strange and inexplicable encounters between U.S. military pilots and unidentified aerial vehicles or UFOs in a bid “to standardize collection and reporting” of the various sightings.

The program is the successor to the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, which also investigated UFOs but was dissolved in 2017 due to a lapse of funding. However, the team working on that program continued its work alongside the intelligence community even after it was officially disbanded.

Luis Elizondo, a former military intelligence official who headed the Pentagon program, resigned in October 2017 after a decade with the program. Elizondo, along with a group of former government scientists and officials, remains convinced that objects of unknown origin have crashed on Earth and that these apparently extraterrestrial materials have been the focus of research.

“It no longer has to hide in the shadows,” Elizondo told the Times. “It will have new transparency.”

Former Senate majority leader and retired Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), who led the push to fund the earlier UFO program, also believes that the studies should see the light of day.

“After looking into this, I came to the conclusion that there were reports — some were substantive, some not so substantive — that there were actual materials that the government and the private sector had in their possession,” Reid said.

So far, none of the alleged crash artifacts have been subject to public scrutiny or verification by independent researchers. However, some of the retrieved objects such as strange metallic debris were identified as being manmade – raising the possibility that they could be related to the military of U.S. rivals such as China or Russia.

However, astrophysicist Eric Davis – who served as an advisor for the Pentagon program since 2007 – said that he had briefed the Pentagon in March about material retrieved from “off-world vehicles not made on this earth.”

The Department of Defense subcontractor also said that he had concluded that the objects found were of the type “we couldn’t make … ourselves.”

In an interview last month, President Donald Trump told his son Donald Trump Jr. that he had heard some “interesting” things about supposed aliens as well as the secretive Area 51 base near Roswell, New Mexico, that some theorists claim is a UFO crash site.

The U.S. government has been increasingly open in its discussions of UFOs since last September when the U.S. Navy admitted that widely-circulated video footage captured by Navy pilots that purportedly showed UFOs flying through the skies did depict actual “unknown” objects that flew into U.S. airspace.

While officials admitted that they have been baffled by the unknown flying objects, they also admit that past encounters with them have been frequent. They also said that rather than calling them “UFOs,” they prefer the term unidentified aerial phenomena or UAPs.

While it remains yet to be seen what information the once-secret UFO unit plans to layout for lawmakers, acting intelligence committee chairman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is intent on finding out who or what precisely is behind the apparent UFO activity over U.S. military bases.

“We have things flying over our military bases and places where we are conducting military exercises and we don’t know what it is — and it isn’t ours,” Rubio told CBS Miami in an interview last Friday.

“Frankly, that if it’s something from outside this planet — that might actually be better than the fact that we’ve seen some technological leap on behalf of the Chinese or the Russians or some other adversary that allows them to conduct this sort of activity,” the hawkish senator added.

For Reid, further transparency is needed.

“It is extremely important that information about the discovery of physical materials or retrieved craft come out,” he said.

See the Waste-Free Making of Yusuf/Cat Stevens’ ‘Where Do the Children Play?’ Video

By | Rolling Stone 

Last month, Yusuf/Cat Stevens released a charming stop-motion video for “Where Do the Children Play?” off his upcoming Tea for the Tillerman².  Now, you can watch three videos explaining how it was made.

The clip was directed by Chris Hopewell — who previously worked on Radiohead’s “Burn the Witch” — and 90% of the material used was derived from recycled matter. “The track itself has a very strong environmental message so we decided very early on that the video itself should have as low an environmental impact as possible,” Blackwell said in a statement. “Film production can cause a lot of waste as a by-product of the model-making, set, scenery design and construction so we went into this trying to use as much recycled, upcycled material as possible.”

Blackwell noted that the material was gathered from recycling centers, “rubbish tips,” and items donated by friends and family. “It did make the production a little more complex as we couldn’t simply just go out and buy from a hardware shop what was needed,” he said. “We had to make do with what we’d gathered, but this make do and mend approach actually turned out to be quite fun — although a little more time-consuming.”

The video’s ocean scene — where the children free flying fish from a net — was made from plastic waste that Jacknife Films collected on a 2-kilometer stretch of beach in South Wales in January. Only a fraction of the plastic gathered that day made it into the video. “We collected 10 Ikea bags of washed-up plastic waste and barely made a dent!” Blackwell added. “I’d like the video to make people think about the legacy of what we’re leaving for future generations. We need a total rethink about the way we consume.”

[Read more here]

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.


ET’s, Unlimited Energy, and Consciousness (“Close Encounters of the 5th Kind” Excerpt)

Video Source: Dr. Steven Greer

The above video, which is a short excerpt from the off-the-charts amazing documentary, Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind, talks about Level One civilizations, higher states of consciousness, and what they mean to us.

Presented by Dr. Steven Greer, Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind presents the most controversial information ever released to the public. Whistleblowers and scientific experts bring viewers to face to face with extraterrestrial visitors and their message to humanity.

Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind features groundbreaking video and photographic evidence of ET contact and supporting interviews from prominent figures such as Adam Curry of Princeton’s PEAR Lab; legendary civil rights attorney Daniel Sheehan, and Dr. Russell Targ, who headed the CIA’s top-secret remote viewing program. Their message: For thousands of people, contact has begun.

Here’s the trailer for this great documentary:

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Saagar Enjeti: Media, Public Health Officials SHOULD APOLOGIZE For Lockdown Hypocrisy After Protests

By Saager Enjeti | The Hill

Saagar Enjeti blasts establishment figures for their back and forth messaging on coronavirus outbreaks after George Floyd protests sweeped the nation.

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.


Neil Sedaka … To Brighten Your Day

By Robert O’Leary

Neil Sedaka is a prolific and successful singer/songwriter, and piano player. Baby boomers may be fans, or at least familiar with the man and his music. His songwriting behind the scenes is likely less well-known. During the time of this pandemic, Sedaka, now in his early 80’s, has begun to share his music freely with the world in 10 to 15 minute videos every couple of days (and sometimes every day) for the nearly last 2 months. He began to do it because fans have shared with him how much his music makes them feel better – in times of stress and in general. This prompted him to begin making these videos. Below are his videos from May 20th to May 22nd, and his first one, from April 6, 2020.

Sedaka’s music originals were reportedly lost in the Universal fire of 2008. Were there other original copies, kept elsewhere I do not know? In any case, to me these videos become more valuable to us because they are glimpses into history from the man who lived it. I am happy to share this posting with the readers because I believe that we should cherish the inventive people in our pasts while they are still here; and not just rekindle an interest in them and their creations when they are gone. Sedaka is a humble genius whose music stands the test of time, and can bring an immediate smile to your face. I have believed this since I was a kid in the 1970’s.

Fortunately, these days you don’t have to rely on a lucky chance to recognize talent. Any parent can purchase a small synth for their child and after a while it will become clear if your child has a penchant for music. Our friends researched the market and compiled a list of budget piano keyboards for kids.

Below the videos are entries from Wikipedia.org for those who are interested in learning more about Neil Sedaka. You can also look to his website, www.neilsedaka.com for more information.Without further ado, here are some wonderful Neil Sedaka videos:

Here is a video from May 22, 2020:

Here is one from May 21 2020:

And here is yet another one, from May 20, 2020 (which I particularly appreciated as it was my birthday):

Finally, here is his first video from April 6, 2020:

And here is what Wikipedia has to say about Neil Sedaka:

Neil Sedaka (born March 13, 1939) is an American pop singer, pianist, composer and record producer. Since his music career began in 1957 as a short-lived founding member of the Tokens, he has sold millions of records as an artist and has written or co-written over 500 songs for himself and others, collaborating mostly with lyricists Howard Greenfield and Phil Cody.

Early life: Juilliard and the Brill Building

Sedaka was born in Brooklyn, New York. His father, Mac Sedaka, was a taxi driver and a Sephardic Jew of Lebanese descent[1][2][3] whose parents came to the United States from Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1910.[4][5][6] Sedaka’s mother, Eleanor (née Appel), was an Ashkenazi Jew of Polish and Russian descent. He grew up in Brighton Beach, on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean.[7] Sedaka was a first cousin of the singer Eydie Gormé.[8]

He demonstrated musical aptitude in his second-grade choral class, and when his teacher sent a note home suggesting he take piano lessons, his mother took a part-time job in an Abraham & Straus department store for six months to pay for a second-hand upright. In 1947, he auditioned successfully for a piano scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music‘s Preparatory Division for Children, which he attended on Saturdays. His mother wanted him to become a classical pianist like his contemporary Van Cliburn, but Sedaka was discovering pop music. When Sedaka was 13, a neighbor heard him playing and introduced him to her 16-year-old son, Howard Greenfield, an aspiring poet and lyricist. They became two of the Brill Building‘s composers.

Sedaka and Greenfield wrote songs together throughout much of their young lives. When Sedaka became a major teen pop star, the pair continued writing hits for Sedaka and numerous other artists. When the Beatles and the British Invasion took American music in a different direction, Sedaka was left without a recording career. In the early 1970s, he decided a major change in his life was necessary and moved his family to Britain. Sedaka and Greenfield mutually agreed to end their partnership with “Our Last Song Together”. Sedaka began a new composing partnership with lyricist Phil Cody, from Pleasantville, New York.

Rise to fame with RCA Victor: the late 1950s

After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School, Sedaka and some of his classmates formed a band called the Linc-Tones. The band had minor regional hits with songs like “While I Dream”, “I Love My Baby”, “Come Back, Joe”, and “Don’t Go”, before Sedaka launched his solo career and left the group in 1957. The Linc-Tones, later renamed the Tokens after Sedaka’s departure, went on to have four top-40 hits of their own without Sedaka. Sedaka’s first three solo singles, “Laura Lee”, “Ring-a-Rockin'”, and “Oh, Delilah!” failed to become hits (although “Ring-a-Rockin'” earned him the first of many appearances on Dick Clark‘s American Bandstand), but they demonstrated his ability to perform as a solo singer, so RCA Victor signed him to a recording contract.[citation needed]

His first single for RCA Victor, “The Diary“, was inspired by Connie Francis, one of Sedaka and Greenfield’s most important clients, while the three were taking a temporary break during their idea-making for a new song. Francis was writing in her diary, Sedaka asked if he could read it, and Connie said no. After Little Anthony and the Imperials passed on the song, Sedaka recorded it himself, and his debut single hit the Top 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 14 in 1958.[citation needed]

His second single, a novelty tune titled “I Go Ape“, just missed the Top 40, peaking at No. 42 but it became a more successful single in the United Kingdom with a No. 9. The third single, “Crying My Heart Out for You“, was a commercial failure, missing the Hot 100 entirely, peaking at No. 111 but it reached No. 6 on the pop charts in Italy. RCA Victor had lost money on “I Go Ape” and “Crying My Heart Out For You” and was ready to drop Sedaka from their label. But Sedaka’s manager, Al Nevins, persuaded the RCA executives to give him one more chance.[citation needed]

Sedaka then bought the three biggest hit singles of the time and listened to them repeatedly, studying the song structure, chord progressions, lyrics and harmonies before writing his next songs.[citation needed]Oh! Carol” delivered Sedaka his first domestic Top 10 hit, reaching No. 9 on the Hot 100 in 1959 and going to No. 1 on the Italian pop charts in 1960, giving Sedaka his first No. 1 ranking. In the UK, the song spent a total of 17 weeks in the top 40, peaking at No. 3 (4 weeks).[9] In addition, the B-side, “One Way Ticket“, reached No. 1 on the pop charts in Japan. Sedaka had dated Carole King when he was still at high school, which gave him the idea to use her name in the song. Gerry Goffin – King’s husband – took the tune, and wrote the playful response “Oh! Neil”, which King recorded and released as an unsuccessful single the same year.[10][11][12] Thus, this was the only time the melody of the song was used by a popular artist and a future sensation around the same time.

Big hits in the early 1960s

After establishing himself in 1958, Sedaka wrote many more hits from 1960 to 1962. His flow of Top 30 hits during this period included: “Stairway to Heaven” (No. 9, 1960); “You Mean Everything to Me” (No. 17, 1960); “Run, Samson, Run” (No. 27, 1960); “Calendar Girl” (No. 4, 1961; also reached No. 1 on the Japanese and Canadian pop charts); “Little Devil” (No. 11, 1961); “Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen” (No. 6, 1961); his signature song, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” (No. 1, two weeks: August 11 and 18, 1962); and “Next Door to an Angel” (No. 5, 1962). Singles not making the Top 30 during this period included “Sweet Little You” (No. 59, 1961) and “King of Clowns” (No. 45, 1962). RCA Victor issued four LPs of his works in the United States and Great Britain during this period, and also produced Scopitone and Cinebox videos of “Calendar Girl” in 1961, “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” in 1962, and “The Dreamer” in 1963. (His second LP was an album mostly of old standards.) He made regular appearances on such TV programs as American Bandstand and Shindig! during this period.

Writing for other performers

Connie Francis

When Sedaka was not recording his own songs, he and Howard Greenfield were writing for other performers, most notably in their earliest days Connie Francis. Francis began searching for a new hit after her 1958 single “Who’s Sorry Now?“. She was introduced to Sedaka and Greenfield, who played every ballad they had written for her. Francis began writing in her diary while the two played the last of their songs. After they finished, Francis told them they wrote beautiful ballads but that they were too intellectual for the young generation. Greenfield suggested that they play a song they had written for the Shepherd Sisters. Sedaka protested that Francis would be insulted by being played such a puerile song, but Greenfield reminded him Francis had not accepted their other suggestions and they had nothing to lose. After Sedaka played “Stupid Cupid“, Francis told them they had just played her new hit. Francis’ rendition of the song reached No. 14 on the Billboard charts, while it topped the UK Singles Chart.

While Francis was writing in her diary, Sedaka asked her if he could read what she had written. As mentioned earlier, Francis said no. This inspired Sedaka to write “The Diary”, his own first hit single. Sedaka and Greenfield wrote many of Connie Francis’ hits, such as “Fallin'” and the “Theme from Where the Boys Are“, the film in which she starred. This hit the Top 5 on the Billboard pop singles chart and Francis had several No. 1 singles. “Where the Boys Are” eventually became her signature song.

Jimmy Clanton

Sedaka and Greenfield also wrote some of Jimmy Clanton‘s hits, such as “Another Sleepless Night,” “What Am I Gonna Do?” and “All the Words in the World.” Sedaka himself recorded each of these three songs: “Another Sleepless Night” appears on his Rock With Sedaka debut album; “What Am I Gonna Do?” was the B-side of “Going Home to Mary Lou” and appeared on his 1961 album Neil Sedaka Sings “Little Devil” and His Other Hits; and “All the Words in the World” was recorded but was kept in the RCA Victor vaults until 1977, at the height of Sedaka’s return to popularity, when it was released on the album Neil Sedaka: The ’50s and ’60s.

Foreign-language recordings

Sedaka was very popular in Italy. Many of his English-language records were released there and proved quite successful, especially “Crying My Heart Out For You” (Italian No. 6, 1959) and “Oh! Carol” (Italian No. 1, 1960).

In 1961, Sedaka began to record some of his hits in Italian, starting with “Esagerata” and “Un giorno inutile”, local versions of “Little Devil” and “I Must Be Dreaming”. Other recordings were to follow, such as “Tu non-lo sai” (“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do”), “Il re dei pagliacci” (“King of Clowns”), “I tuoi capricci” (“Look Inside Your Heart”), and “La terza luna” (“Waiting For Never”). “La terza luna” reached No. 1 on the Italian pop charts in April 1963. Cinebox videos exist for “La terza luna” and “I tuoi capricci”. From a language standpoint, his recordings in Italian had very little American accent. RCA Victor’s Italiana branch distributed his records in Italy and released three compilation LPs of Sedaka’s Italian recordings.

Sedaka also recorded an album in Yiddish (Brighton Beach Memories — Neil Sedaka Sings Yiddish), several songs in Spanish, a handful of songs in German, and one single apiece in Hebrew, Japanese, and Canadian French. His English-language recordings were also quite popular internationally; “One-Way Ticket to the Blues” and “Calendar Girl” reached No. 1 on the Japanese pop charts in 1959 and 1961. He enjoyed popularity in Latin America for his Spanish-language recordings. Many of these were pressed onto 78 rpm discs.


The year 1962 was one of the most important of Sedaka’s career, with “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” reaching No. 1 and “Next Door to an Angel” reaching No. 5. But after this his popularity began to wane and his 1963 singles enjoyed only moderate success: “Alice In Wonderland” (No. 17), “Let’s Go Steady Again” (No. 26), “The Dreamer” (No. 47), and “Bad Girl” (No. 33). “Bad Girl” was Sedaka’s last Top 40 hit in the U.S. until 1974.

In 1964 Sedaka’s career began a sharp decline, hastened by The Beatles‘ arrival on the radio and TV, and the rest of the so-called British Invasion. When describing the Beatles’ effect on his career in the mid-1960s, Sedaka put it brusquely: “The Beatles—not good!”[13] From 1964 to 1966, only three of his singles cracked the Hot 100: “Sunny” (No. 86, 1964), “The World through a Tear” (No. 76, 1965), and “The Answer to My Prayer” (No. 89, 1965). His other singles from this era—”The Closest Thing To Heaven”, “I Hope He Breaks Your Heart”, “Let The People Talk”, “The Answer Lies Within” and “We Can Make It If We Try”—all missed the Hot 100, the same fate since Sedaka’s third U.S. single for RCA Victor, and became commercial failures.

To make matters worse, RCA Victor refused to release his new recording, “It Hurts to Be in Love“, because he had not recorded at their own studios, as stipulated by his contract. Sedaka attempted another recording of this song in RCA’s studios, but the results were unsatisfactory. Howard Greenfield and Helen Miller, the song’s co-writers, offered it instead to Gene Pitney. Pitney took the existing musical track, replacing Sedaka’s lead vocal track with his own. Everything else was Sedaka, including his own arrangement and backing vocals, piano-playing, and usual female backup singers. Pitney ended up with a No. 7 hit for himself and his record label, Musicor, in 1964.

For the remainder of his tenure with RCA Victor, Sedaka never fully recovered from the effects of Beatlemania, the loss of “It Hurts to Be in Love” to Pitney, or the failure of his recordings. RCA decided not to renew his contract when it expired in 1966, leaving Sedaka without a recording label.

Although Sedaka’s stature as a recording artist was at a low ebb in the late 1960s, he was able to maintain his career through songwriting. Because his publisher, Aldon Music, was acquired by Screen Gems, two of his songs were recorded by The Monkees. Other hits Sedaka wrote in this period included The Cyrkle‘s versions of “We Had a Good Thing Goin'” and “Workin’ On a Groovy Thing“; a Top 40 R&B hit for Patti Drew in 1968; and a Top 20 pop hit for The 5th Dimension in 1969. Also, “Make the Music Play” was included on Frankie Valli‘s charting album Timeless.

On a 1965 episode of the quiz show I’ve Got a Secret, Sedaka’s secret was that he was to represent the United States at the 1966 Tchaikovsky classical piano competition in Moscow. Unaware of Sedaka’s secret, panelist Henry Morgan challenged Sedaka with the fact that the Soviet bureaucracy had outlawed rock ‘n’ roll music, and that any Western music young Russians wanted had to be smuggled into the country. Once Sedaka’s secret had been revealed, he impressed the show’s panelists with his performance of Frederic Chopin’s “Fantaisie Impromptu“.[14] Morgan’s warning turned out to be prescient, however: despite Sedaka’s classical roots, his “other” life as a pop star spurred the Soviet Union to disqualify him from entering the competition.

Sedaka also made an appearance in the 1968 movie Playgirl Killer, where he performed a song called “The Waterbug”.

Struggles of the late 1960s to early 1970s

Australia years

Sedaka worked to revive his solo career in the early 1970s. Despite his waning chart appeal in the US in the late 1960s, he remained very popular as a concert attraction, notably in the UK and Australia. In 2010, as a guest on Australian disc jockey Bob Rogers’ radio show, he thanked Rogers and Australian music fans for standing by him during that challenging time: “You know, Bob, in my lean years—I called them ‘The Hungry Years‘—it was Bob Rogers and Australia who welcomed me.”[15] Sedaka made several trips to Australia to play cabaret dates, and his commercial comeback began when the single “Star-Crossed Lovers” became a major hit there. The song went to No. 1 nationally in April 1969—giving Sedaka his first charting single anywhere in four years. It also came in at No. 5 in Go-Set magazine’s list of the Top 40 Australian singles of 1969.[16] Later that year, with the support of Festival Records, he recorded a new LP of original material entitled Workin’ on a Groovy Thing (released in the United Kingdom as Sounds of Sedaka) at Festival Studios in Sydney. It was co-produced by Festival staff producer Pat Aulton, with arrangements by John Farrar (who later achieved international fame for his work with Olivia Newton-John) and backing by Australian session musicians including guitarist Jimmy Doyle (Ayers Rock) and noted jazz musician-composer John Sangster.[17] One of the tracks from the album, “Wheeling, West Virginia”, reached No. 20 in Australia in early 1970.[18] The album is also notable because it was Sedaka’s first album to include collaborations with writers other than longtime lyricist Howard Greenfield; the title track featured lyrics by Roger Atkins and four other songs were co-written with Carole Bayer Sager.

Emergence and Solitaire

In 1971, Sedaka reunited with RCA and released the Emergence album. Singles from that album included “I’m A Song (Sing Me),” “Silent Movies,” “Superbird,” and “Rosemary Blue”. Good friend and New York music impresario Don Kirshner attempted to make the U.S. release of “Emergence” a comeback for Sedaka, but the album and single releases had no appreciable success, and RCA showed little interest in promoting the album. After the failure of “Emergence” in the US market, Sedaka left New York and moved his family to the UK.[citation needed]

In 1972, Sedaka embarked on a successful English tour and was introduced by Harvey Lisberg to the four future members of 10cc (best known to American audiophiles for “I’m Not in Love” and “The Things We Do for Love“) with whom he recorded the Solitaire album at their Strawberry Studios in Stockport[19] issued by RCA in 1972. As well as the title track, “Solitaire“, which was successfully covered by Andy Williams (UK Top 5 singles chart) and the Carpenters (US Top 20), it included two UK Top 40 singles, one of which (“Beautiful You”) also charted briefly in America, Sedaka’s first US chart appearance in ten years.

Return to success in the mid-1970s

Newfound success

A year later he reconvened with the Strawberry team, who had by then charted with their own debut 10cc album, to record The Tra-La Days Are Over for MGM Records, which started the second phase of his career and included his original version of the hit song “Love Will Keep Us Together” (also a US No. 1 hit two years later for Captain & Tennille). This album also marked the effective end of his writing partnership with Greenfield, commemorated by the track “Our Last Song Together” (later the last hit song for Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods, whose version hit No. 95). They reunited, however, and composed together again, before Greenfield’s death in 1986. From 1974 onward, Sedaka’s records were issued in Europe and around the world on the Polydor label. His first album of new material with Polydor was Laughter in the Rain (1974).

Career with The Rocket Record Company

Elton John and Sedaka met at a party in London in 1973. When John learned Sedaka had no American record label, he suggested Sedaka sign with his Rocket Record Company, Limited, and Sedaka accepted the proposition. When John visited Sedaka at his London apartment, they discussed plans for relaunching his career in the United States.[20]

John said he had “always been a Sedaka fan anyway”.[20] He went on to say:

So the basic plan was as simple as finding out what he wanted to have on his album – which turned out to be a compilation from his British albums. It had been like Elvis coming up and giving us the chance to release his records. We couldn’t believe our luck.[20]

Sedaka’s Back

Sedaka returned to the U.S. album charts with the release of Sedaka’s Back, a compilation of songs from three albums he had already recorded in the UK—namely “Solitaire,” “The Tra-La Days Are Over,” and “Laughter in the Rain.” It was only the second Sedaka album ever to chart in the U.S. Sedaka was known principally as a singles artist up to that point in his career; his only other American charting album was Neil Sedaka Sings His Greatest Hits, a compilation of his early singles. Although the single was released in the autumn of 1974 and was very slow in building in sales and at radio, eventually Sedaka found himself once again topping the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (February 1, 1975) with “Laughter in the Rain.” It was Sedaka’s second No. 1 single thus far at that point in his career (after 1962’s original version of “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do“) and solidly reestablished Sedaka’s popularity in America.

Writing for artists of the 1970s

In late 1972, producer Stig Anderson approached Sedaka to write the lyric for a single by a new Swedish pop quartet then known as Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid. Sedaka agreed, on the condition he liked the song. Anderson, who had co-written the Swedish original with lyricist Björn Ulvaeus and composer Benny Andersson, intended to enter “Ring Ring” in the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest and believed with a strong English lyric it had the potential to become an international hit. He sent a tape of the song together with a rough translation to Sedaka, who within days returned an original lyric, co-written with Phil Cody.[21] The song was entered into the Swedish Eurovision selections on February 10, 1973, but placed third. The band, renamed ABBA, made “Ring Ring” the title track of their first album, released on March 26, 1973. The single, credited to Andersson, Ulvaeus, Anderson, Sedaka and Cody, reached number 1 in Sweden and Belgium, and charted in the top 5 in at least four other countries.[22] Sedaka later said that ABBA’s “songwriting and production are in a class by themselves.”[23]

Sedaka and Greenfield co-wrote “Love Will Keep Us Together,” a No. 1 hit for Captain & Tennille and the biggest hit for the entire year of 1975. Toni Tennille paid tribute to Sedaka’s welcome return to music business success with her ad lib of “Sedaka is back” in the outro while she was laying down her own background vocals for the track.[24] “Captain” Daryl Dragon and Toni also recorded a Spanish-language version of the song the same year that cracked the top half of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart (“Por Amor Viviremos,” US pop No. 49).

Overnight Success/The Hungry Years

In late 1975, Sedaka’s most successful year of his career continued as he earned yet more chart success with the release of his second Rocket Records album, The Hungry Years. This album was an American edition of Sedaka’s British Polydor album Overnight Success. The first single, “Bad Blood,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard 100 and stayed there for three weeks (October 11, 18 and 25, 1975), was certified Gold® by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and was the most commercially successful individual single of his career. Elton John provided uncredited backing vocals for “Bad Blood.” Despite their later falling out that resulted in Sedaka moving from Elton’s Rocket Records to Elektra, Sedaka has credited John as being responsible for his successful return to the U.S. pop music scene.[25] John has stated, “I only appear on the records of people I really know or like.”[20]

Another highlight from The Hungry Years was Sedaka’s new version of “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.” His 1962 original, a No. 1 hit single, was upbeat; the remake was a slow ballad, based on a similar arrangement by a Lenny Welch 1970 recording.[citation needed] Sedaka’s version hit No. 8 on the Hot 100 in early 1976, making him the only artist to ever record an entirely reinterpreted version of a song where both versions reached the Billboard Top 10. (Welch’s version, re-released at the same time, reached No. 34.) The 1976 ballad version also hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.

Steppin’ Out

Later in 1976, Sedaka released a third (and final) album with Elton John’s label The Rocket Record Company, Steppin’ Out. The first single, “Love in the Shadows,” was an uncharacteristically solid rock song featuring a scorching guitar solo. While it peaked at No. 16 on the Hot 100, it was the first of his three “comeback” albums’ debut singles not to hit No. 1—or even the Top 10. The second single was the album’s title track, once again featuring Elton on uncredited backing vocals. While it cracked the Top 40 (peaking at No. 36), it also signaled the beginning of a slowdown in Sedaka’s music sales and radio play not unlike what he experienced in 1964 when The Beatles and the “British Invasion” arrived.

By this point, Elton John was starting to lose interest in Sedaka. Members of John’s inner circle, jealous of Sedaka’s success, worked to undermine the friendship by telling John falsehoods about Sedaka. Consequently, when it was time to renegotiate Sedaka’s contract with Rocket, John did not offer Sedaka the amount of money he was looking for, and he did not promote Steppin’ Out as extensively as he had Sedaka’s Back and The Hungry Years. Sedaka subsequently left Rocket and signed with Elektra Records.

Sedaka met John again several times after his departure from Rocket, and he described their meetings as “cordial, but cold”. The coldness eventually thawed, however, and in the foreword to Sedaka’s 2013 biography, John wrote of their friendship in glowing and positive terms.[26]

Late 1970s

Transition from Rocket to Elektra

Sedaka’s new US label, Elektra, did not put as much effort into promoting Sedaka’s music as Elton John had at Rocket Records, and that, combined with the arrival of the disco era, marked another downturn in Sedaka’s career.

His first Elektra album, A Song, enjoyed only moderate success. Things got worse with his 1978 album All You Need Is the Music which was a dismal failure, because as Sedaka attempted to release disco-themed music himself in the late 1970s, his album sales were weak and singles could not get a foothold on the radio. However, on one track of “All You Need Is the Music” was a ballad called “Should’ve Never Let Her Go.” Sedaka released the song but it was not a success. In his next album, 1980’s In the Pocket, he released an early single in the autumn of 1979, “Letting Go,” which peaked just above the Hot 100. For the second single in the winter of 1980, Sedaka changed the lyrics and title to “Should’ve Never Let You Go,” and re-recorded the song with his then-17-year-old daughter, Dara. Their father-daughter duo, along with Frank and Nancy Sinatra and Nat “King” (posthumously) and Natalie Cole (via recording manipulation in “Unforgettable“, 1991) are the only father-daughter duets to reach the Top 40. Neil and Dara’s pairing returned Neil to the Top 20 for his last Hot 100 charted single and to the Top 5 on the Adult Contemporary Chart.

Reissue of RCA-era recordings

Throughout the 1970s, Sedaka’s former record company, RCA, reissued his 1960s-era songs on compilation LPs on the RCA Victor and RCA Camden labels, a practice which continues to this day. The idea was to capitalize on Sedaka’s newfound popularity by making his RCA-era recordings available to younger generations of fans.

Sedaka also released a final album of new material with RCA, consisting of a live concert he gave in Sydney. The album was released on the RCA International label in Australia and Europe as Neil Sedaka On Stage in 1974. It saw a US release on the RCA Victor label in 1976 as Sedaka Live in Australia. The album’s songs were mostly cover versions of rock and pop songs from the previous 25 years, such as “Proud Mary“, “Everything Is Beautiful” and “The Father of Girls”.

For decades, RCA and Sedaka have disputed the ownership rights of Sedaka’s original master tapes from his late 1950s/early 1960s hits. RCA has released various repackagings of his old hits, prompting Sedaka to rerecord his old hits and make them sound as close and authentic to the originals as possible.

1980s and 1990s

Sedaka released one final album with Elektra – Neil Sedaka: Now in 1981. None of the songs on this album made any significant waves on the pop music charts.

During this time, Sedaka lost his father to cancer. Sedaka’s mother and father had moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the 1970s. Mac Sedaka had a tumor in his colon, and had it surgically removed. After that, they thought he would recover, but the cancer had spread to his bones. Neil was at his bedside singing his father’s favorite song, “Pictures From The Past” (a song he had recorded twice, in 1965 and 1981), when his father briefly awoke from his coma and then died a moment later, on June 6, 1981.

Meanwhile, due to the failure of “Now”, Sedaka left Elektra and signed with Curb Records. Sedaka recorded two albums on the Curb label – Come See About Me in 1983 and The Good Times in 1986. Neither of these albums fared well on the charts or in terms of sales, with only modest success for the singles that were released from them. After 1986, Sedaka was once again left without a record label.

He then created his own music label, ensuring that his catalog of hits would find the marketplace, and he released occasional CDs of self-produced new, original material. He also proved to be a popular concert draw on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, performing for thousands of adoring fans. To this day, he maintains a rigorous tour schedule.

Other successes

American singer-songwriter Ben Folds credited Sedaka on his iTunes Originals album as an inspiration for his own song-publishing career. When Folds heard that Sedaka had a song published by the age of 13, Folds set a similar goal, despite the fact that Sedaka did not actually publish until he was 16.[27]

In 1985, songs composed by Sedaka were adapted for the Japanese anime television series Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. These included the two opening themes “Zeta-Toki wo Koete” (based on Sedaka’s “Better Days Are Coming”) and “Mizu no Hoshi e Ai wo Komete” (originally in English as “For Us to Decide”, but the English version was never recorded), as well as the end theme “Hoshizora no Believe” (based on Sedaka’s “Bad and Beautiful”). Due to copyright restrictions, the songs were replaced for the North American DVD, as well as for Japanese online releases of the series until 2017.

In 1994, Sedaka provided the voice for Neil Moussaka, a parody of himself in Food Rocks, an attraction at Epcot from 1994 to 2006.

A musical comedy based on the songs of Sedaka, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,[28] was written in 2005 by Erik Jackson and Ben H. Winters; it is now under license to Theatrical Rights Worldwide.

A biographical musical, Laughter in the Rain, produced by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield and starring Wayne Smith as Sedaka, had its world premiere at the Churchill Theatre in the London borough of Bromley on March 4, 2010. Sedaka attended the opening and joined the cast onstage for an impromptu curtain call of the title song.

Into the 21st century

Sedaka recently[when?] has maintained a rigorous concert schedule in the U.S. and around the world. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983,[29] has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was an October 2006 inductee of the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. On November 15, 2013, Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters in Los Angeles gave him their Art Gilmore Career Achievement Award at a luncheon in his honor.[30]

American Idol

Eventual Season 2 runnerup Clay Aiken chose Sedaka’s 1972 song “Solitaire” for his performance. As Aiken explained to the studio and TV audiences, host Ryan Seacrest, and the four regular judges, “Solitaire” had long been one of his mother’s all-time favorite songs. When she learned that Sedaka was going to be a guest judge and that the finalists would be singing Sedaka’s songs, she begged Clay to sing “Solitaire.” The performance was uniformly given extraordinarily high praise by the judges (including perennial skeptic Simon Cowell). Sedaka dissolved into tears, telling Aiken that he officially passed ownership of the performance of “Solitaire” to Clay, offering to record and produce a single of the song or an entire CD with him.In May 2003, near the end of the second season of the Fox TV series American Idol, Sedaka appeared as a guest judge and mentor to the five remaining finalists. (The “guest judge” aspect of the series was later discontinued.) Several of the contestants’ performances from Sedaka’s songbook sparked particular praise from the guest judge. One of those performances came from eventual third-place finalist Kimberley Locke, who sang “Theme from Where the Boys Are.” The Sedaka/Greenfield composition was originally recorded by Connie Francis and became her signature song. Sedaka termed Locke’s performance “ear-licious.”

Although it did not appear on his debut CD itself, Aiken recorded and added “Solitaire” as the B-side to the single “The Way,” whose sales were faltering. “Solitaire” was quickly moved to the A-side, and radio airplay and single and download sales responded immediately. “Solitaire” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart and was, in fact, the top-selling single for all of 2004. It also hit the Top 5 on Billboards Hot 100. Sedaka was invited back to American Idol to celebrate the success of “Solitaire” several times, as it continued to reach new milestones. Since then, Aiken has mined the Sedaka songbook again, recording a cover of probably Sedaka’s best-known song, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” on the “deluxe version” of his 2010 CD release, Tried and True.

Sedaka continued to be seen in the American Idol studio audience—most recently on May 19, 2011, when Seacrest had Sedaka stand and greet the audience on-camera during Season 10’s “Top 3” results show.

Amarillo – Guinness World Record

On a business trip to New York in mid-1971, Harvey Lisberg, who was a longtime fan of Sedaka, asked Don Kirshner if he’d written anything new. Kirshner took Lisberg to a small room with a piano where Sedaka was already seated, and he tapped out a few songs. One of these was the Sedaka/Greenfield composition “(Is This the Way to) Amarillo?” which Lisberg loved and placed with his artist Tony Christie who recorded and released it in 1971.[31] The song did relatively well on the UK singles chart, reaching the Top 20.

It lay dormant for more than three decades, when UK comic Peter Kay lip-synched it for a 2002 video in his TV series Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights. For the 2005 annual Comic Relief charity drive, he solicited a number of celebrity friends of his and updated the video, and it became an enormous hit. The original 1971 Tony Christie single was re-released to radio and CD/download sales, and hit No. 1 for seven weeks and was the biggest hit in Britain for all of 2005.

When interviewed for an “extras” feature for a DVD set of a concert filmed in London on April 7, 2006 (see below), Sedaka jokingly had heard that Christie had retired and was “golfing in Spain.”[32] The sudden revival of “Amarillo” summoned Christie back to the UK for an unexpected return to fame. Sedaka also released the song in the U.S. in 1977 as the shortened “Amarillo,” but it was only a mid-chart entry, peaking just shy of the Top 40. In early 2006, the song received new life yet again when a dance beat was added and the lyrics were revised to become a novelty hit, released as “Is This the Way to the (England) World Cup?”, to mark the appearance of the England football team at that summer’s FIFA World Cup finals. It was used yet again later that summer by the Central Band of the Royal British Legion prior to the Men’s Finals of the 2006 Wimbledon tennis tournament.[citation needed]

On April 7, 2006, Sedaka was appearing at the Royal Albert Hall and filming for the above-referenced CD/DVD package, when he was interrupted mid-concert by a gentleman who walked onstage from the wings. The planned scenario was that Sedaka was to begin performing “Amarillo”, and after one verse, the audience was to be surprised by the appearance of Christie for an eventual duet. At the interruption, a confused Sedaka asked, “What is this?” The interloper was a representative from Guinness Records, and he was there to present Sedaka with an award from Guinness World Records: British Hit Singles and Albums for composing “(Is This the Way to) Amarillo?“, the most successful UK single of the 21st century (up to that date, of course).[33][34] After the presentation, Sedaka proceeded into “Amarillo,” Christie entered onstage to an eruption of cheers from the audience, and after the successful duet performance, the two men walked offstage together, triumphantly arm in arm, as the first half of Sedaka’s concert came to a close.

New recording contract, new chart success

Since Sedaka had lost his recording contract in the mid-1980s, he had used his own business, Neil Sedaka Music, to finance the recording, production, and distribution of new CDs and repackaging of his existing catalog of music. Because of ongoing disputes with RCA Records over the ownership of Sedaka’s original late 1950s/early 1960s hits, in 1991, Sedaka re-recorded those early recordings, note-for-note. Sedaka has taken meticulous care of his voice over the years and still sings in the original keys recorded in his youth. This allowed him to repackage his catalog to include both his early recordings along with his mid- to late 1970s hits and later recordings.

In early 2007, Sedaka signed his first recording contract in nearly two decades with Razor and Tie Records, a small-but-growing, New York-based independent label with a talent roster that also includes Joan Baez, Vanessa Carlton, Foreigner, Joe Jackson, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The first release was The Definitive Collection, a life-spanning compilation of his hits, along with outtakes and songs previously released but unavailable in CD and/or download format. It debuted in the Top 25 on Billboards Top 200 Albums chart in May 2007, one of the highest-charting albums of his entire career. It also includes “It Hurts to Be in Love“, Sedaka’s version of the Gene Pitney hit which RCA had refused to release in 1964. Best known as a “singles artist,” this album chart activity was considered a significant comeback for the veteran entertainer. The last time Sedaka had an album on the Top 200 albums chart was in 1980, with his album In the Pocket – when “Should’ve Never Let You Go,” the 1980 duet with Sedaka and his daughter Dara, was Sedaka’s last Top 20 hit on the Hot 100 singles chart.

Waking Up Is Hard to Do was Sedaka’s next release with Razor and Tie, hitting the albums chart in May 2009. The CD was a children’s album that used the melodies of many of Sedaka’s best-known songs but changed the lyrics to fit, and hopefully have fun with, the everyday lives of babies and toddlers, along with their parents, grandparents, babysitters, and other caregivers. The CD title is an example. Lastly, The Music of My Life entered the albums chart in February 2010[35] and comprised almost all new material. The first track, “Do You Remember?,” is Sedaka’s first foray into spicy salsa and was produced by music producer, composer, and pianist David Foster. “Right or Wrong,” co-written with original music partner Howard Greenfield, was done in traditional street-corner, layered doo-wop vocal harmonies with Sedaka overlaying his own voice to achieve the effect for which he was well known in his “early” heyday of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The final track, “You”, has been previously released, but was remastered for this project and is one of several titles dedicated to his wife and career guide of over 50 years, Leba. Neil Sedaka Music continues to be listed as co-producer along with Razor and Tie.

A concert performance on October 26, 2007 at the Lincoln Center in New York City paid homage to the 50th anniversary of Sedaka’s debut in show business. Music impresario (and producer for The Music of My Life track “Do You Remember?”) David Foster served as emcee. Other guests included The Captain and Tennille; Natalie Cole; Connie Francis; recording legend and decades-long Sedaka friend and former manager Don Kirshner; and new Solitaire “owner” Clay Aiken, among many others. Also in 2007, Donny Osmond released a CD, Love Songs of the ’70s, which included a cover of Sedaka’s 1975 No. 1 hit “Laughter in the Rain.”

During his 2008 Australian tour, Sedaka premiered a new classical orchestral composition entitled “Joie de Vivre (Joy of Life).”[36] Sedaka also toured The Philippines for his May 17, 2008, concert at the Araneta Coliseum.[37]

In early 2010, his original uptempo version of “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” (performed by a group of uncredited singers) was being heard as the impetus for a series of insurance TV commercials, featuring actor Dennis Haysbert assuring that TV viewers not insured by Allstate can break up with their current insurer without much ado at all.

On September 11, 2010, Sedaka performed to a public and TV audience at the Hyde Park, London, venue of the “Proms in the Park” for the BBC. The UK continues to be probably Sedaka’s most welcoming nation, and has been since first moving his family there (temporarily) four decades ago. The irony of the place whose music scuttled his “first” career, namely the Beatles and the British Invasion, and yet has constantly welcomed him with open arms for more than 40 years, is not lost on him, he has stated in many interviews. Indeed, it was his work with the musicians who, in a few years, became the hit-making group 10cc that brought him back to the U.S. as a major star with No. 1 hits and a number of other major Top 40 singles. The UK always takes up a major portion of Sedaka’s touring year in the 21st century.

In early 2011, Sedaka recorded two duets (“Brighton” and “The Immigrant“) with singer Jim Van Slyke for Van Slyke’s Neil Sedaka tribute album, The Sedaka Sessions. LML Records released this album in August 2011.[38]

In 2010, Sedaka duetted with his good friend, West End (London) and Broadway theatre legend Elaine Paige, on their cover of “Make It With You,” from Ms. Paige’s UK CD release Elaine Paige and Friends. The track was originally a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 pop charts for the soft-rock group Bread in 1970.[39] In 2014, Neil duetted with another friend who was a pop sensation “on both sides of the pond” in the 1960s and ’70s, Engelbert Humperdinck. The pair recorded the title song from Sedaka’s 1975 album The Hungry Years. The track is from Engelbert’s UK/USA CD release Engelbert Calling.

Also in 2014, Sedaka duetted with up-and-coming Nashville star Mary Sarah (Gross) on Connie Francis‘ classic, “Theme from Where the Boys Are,” on her all-duets CD Bridges. Mary Sarah was also a Season 10 (spring 2016) contestant on NBC‘s The Voice, and once again relied on Neil’s “Where the Boys Are” for her blind audition. She turned all four chairs around, and ultimately placed seventh in the competition. In 2015, Neil duetted on his #1 hit from 1974–75, “Laughter in the Rain,” with Steve Tyrell, on Tyrell’s 2015 album That Lovin’ Feeling.

On February 1, 2016, Sedaka performed to a sold-out audience in The Villages.[40] Then, on August 12, 2016, Sedaka released his new acoustic album, I Do It for Applause, which includes 11 new tracks and a bonus of his first symphony that was debuted in Australia in 2008 (see above), “Joie de Vivre (Joy of Life)”; the recording features the London Philharmonia Orchestra.[41]

On May 27, 2019, Sedaka’s “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” [original 1962 version] was featured as a double-money ‘Fast Track’ answer in the category of “Breakup Songs” in the Name That Tune-style game show, Beat Shazam, on Fox. A team of two can win as much as $1 million. Jamie Foxx is host and executive producer and his daughter, Corinne Marie Foxx, serves as DJ of Shazam, now in its third season. In this episode, three pairs of theologians competed, and the answer was correctly given by one of the pair of rabbis, Andrew. He then exclaimed, “Yes! I love my Neil Sedaka!”

In April 2020, Sedaka launched a series of free mini-concerts, released through his social media channels, as a method of entertaining his fans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each daily concert features three songs from Sedaka’s discography.[42]

Material loss

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Neil Sedaka among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[43]

Personal life

Sedaka attended Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, from which he graduated in 1956.[44]

He and his wife Leba (née Strassberg) have been married since 1962. They have two children: a daughter, Dara, a recording artist and vocalist for television and radio commercials, and who sang the female part on the Sedaka Billboard Top 20 hit duet “Should’ve Never Let You Go” from 1980, and “Angel Queen” on the Queen Millennia soundtrack; and a son, Marc, a screenwriter who lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Samantha, and their three children.

Sedaka’s nephew, by marriage, is CNN Politics political writer Harry Enten.[45][46]

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Sedaka

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.

Top 20 Best Feel Good Movies

Video Source: WatchMojo.com

Need a morale boost? WatchMojo has got you covered! For this list, we’re looking at films guaranteed to put a smile on your face and leave you feeling with an overall sense of happiness. The countdown includes “Rudy”, “Little Miss Sunshine”, “Love Actually”, “The Princess Bride”, and more! The full list is below:

20. The Sandlot

19. About a Boy

18. The Intouchables

17. Rudy

16. Little Miss Sunshine

15. Cool Runnings

14. Billy Elliot

13. Jerry Maguire

12. Love Actually

11. Mean Girls

10. Paddington 2

9. Life is Beautiful

8. Amelie

7. Mrs. Doubtfire

6. Field of Dreams

5. Back to the Future

4. Groundhog Day

3. The Princess Bride

2. Forrest Gump

1. It’s a Wonderful Life

11 Spiritual Documentaries Everyone Should See

Video Source: Koi Fresco

Consciousness Youtuber, Koi Fresco, says he’s going to share his “Top 10” Spiritual Documentaries, but actually ends up sharing 11 (if you count the three films he said were a tie for #3 – Samsara, Chronos and Baraka, because he never provides #10).

We’re sharing it because it’s worthwhile, heartfelt list from someone who is deeply on the path of spiritual transformation. Watch the video above and see why Koi is recommending these 11 movies.

Watch the video above and see why Koi is recommending these 11 movies.

  1. Kumare
  2. Ram Dass Fierce Grace
  3. Samsara,
  4. Chronos
  5. Bakara
  6. Zeitgeist: The Movie
  7. Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa
  8. Century of the Self
  9. Human
  10. Neurons to Nirvana
  11. Amongst White Clouds


Twelve Films That Highlight the Best in Humanity

By  Jeremy Adam SmithElise ProulxJill SuttieEmiliana R. Simon-ThomasAmy L. EvaMaryam AbdullahAlicia CrawfordAndrea CollierZaid Jilani | Greater Good Magazine 

This year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture tend to emphasize the worst in humanity. For example, Joker is about descent into homicidal madness. Jojo Rabbit is about one of the worst events in human history, the Nazi Holocaust. 1917 is about another catastrophe, World War One.

In each of those films, however, we can still find elements of humanity’s best qualities: heroism, growth, fortitude, and more.

Those qualities are the focus of our own list of this year’s Greater Goodies, our awards for films that reveal human strengths and virtues—although even these have some dystopian elements. Homelessness defines America in The Last Black Man in San Francisco. We discover marriage through a divorce in Marriage Story. For Sama, love is forged in the crucible of violence; you could say something similar about Harriet or even Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

In many of these films, the best and the worst are fighting for dominance in a complicated world. They all ask us, the audience, to decide which side best represents who we are and what we want to become.

The Kindness Award: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

As the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood illustrates, the children’s TV host Mister Rogers was on a mission. He wanted to teach children that they mattered, their difficult emotions could be managed, and they should treat others and themselves with kindness and compassion—a message that still resonates today, as much for adults as for kids.

Based on a true incident, in the movie Esquire magazine asks journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) to write a profile of Mister Rogers (played beautifully by Tom Hanks). Though reluctant to do a “puff piece,” Vogel arrives on set to interview Rogers only to discover that the TV host moves at his own pace, taking his time with every person he encounters and giving them his undivided attention.

At first annoyed, Vogel soon discovers that authentic kindness is Rogers’s superpower, transforming the people around him. “I think the best thing we can do is to let people know that each one of them is precious,” Rogers tells Vogel at one point in the film—a message Vogel himself needs to hear.

As Vogel gets to know Rogers, the film explores his troubled relationship with his estranged father. When they run into each other at a wedding, Vogel cannot let go of the rage he feels at his father for having abandoned him as a child. Vogel’s path to forgiveness—fueled by his interactions with Mister Rogers—is at the heart of this very moving, inspirational film. —Jill Suttie

The Community Award: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Real-life William Kamkwamba was only 13 years old when a combination of flooding and drought led to a very long hungry season in Malawi. In the film based on his story, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, William’s family cannot afford to continue paying for his school. But, William, an inquisitive tinkerer, sneaks back into school after the headmaster forbids him to return until his fees are paid. William is intrigued by his science teacher’s bicycle light that shines upon pedaling and he wins permission from the librarian for him to continue using the school’s library. As William teaches himself about electricity, his country sinks into famine—and his family endures profound loss.

“Even if they prayed for rain, the ancestors survived because they stayed together,” William’s mother says at school. “When do we stay together, Mr. Headmaster?” In this story, the social connection makes hope possible. Because of William’s bond with his science teacher, school librarian, family, friends, and fellow villagers, he stays hopeful—and gradually realizes the potential of his ingenuity, as he discovers how wind energy can bring water to his village and save them from perishing.

While highlighting the grim realities of water scarcity that are pervasive throughout much of the world, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind also illuminates the cultural beauty and richness of Malawi, where members of the indigenous religions, Christians, and Muslims live together and honor each other. It provides a strong message that, in large part, strong ties with one another nurture hope and make flourishing possible. —Maryam Abdullah

The Bridging Differences Award: The Farewell

In The Farewell, a first-generation Chinese immigrant named Billi (played by the rapper Awkwafina) learns that her beloved Chinese grandmother and family matriarch, Nai-Nai (Zhao Shuzhen), is dying. Billi wants to visit Nai-Nai in China for the last time and say goodbye.

But, as she soon discovers, the rest of her family has other plans. They believe it’s best not to tell Nai-Nai about her illness and, instead, to pretend that nothing is wrong. It’s been decided that the whole family will go to China, but on the pretext of attending a relative’s wedding, so there can be a family reunion for Nai-Nai couched within an otherwise happy occasion.

Based somewhat on the real experience of the filmmaker, Lulu Wang, the movie explores how cultural views can collide around what it means to be kind. On the one hand, those who are closer culturally to China—Billi’s parents, for example—believe it is kinder to keep her illness a secret and to simply make her happy with a family get together. Billi, who identifies more with American culture, believes that it’s kinder to tell Nai-Nai the truth so that she can say goodbye on her own terms. Conflicts ensue—but, ultimately, this is a tale of love and how it can be expressed differently by different people.

Part of the joy of watching the film is seeing Billi rediscover her roots—the food, family, and culture of China. But, as we see in the film, she also gains perspective on why her parents left China to live in the United States, as well as empathy for their struggles in living so far away from their families. It’s an affecting portrait of the opportunities and the price of immigrating.

At the same time, Nai-Nai’s positive outlook is infectious, and we can’t help but admire her quiet wisdom. “Life is not just about what you do,” she tells Billi. “It’s more about how you do it.” She reminds her—and us—of the importance of living fully and telling our loved ones our truths…before it’s too late. —Jill Suttie

The Love Award: For Sama

For Sama juxtaposes seemingly impossible images and sounds. In an early scene, a mother sings a playful song to her baby as a bomb strikes thunderously close to their home.

This was an everyday occurrence for Waad al-Kataeb, a citizen journalist, and Sama, her baby daughter—and for the countless families who lived in Aleppo, Syria, in 2016. This documentary is Waad’s love letter to her daughter, Sama. “Her name means the sky,” Waad explains. “The sky we love…without bombing. Sky with the sun, with clouds, with birds.” Waad fears to lose Sama every day and strives to give her daughter what childhood she can.

But Aleppo’s reality tinges this love letter with profound sorrow. “Sama, you’re the most beautiful thing in our lives,” Waad says. “But what a life I’ve brought you into. You didn’t choose this. Will you ever forgive me?”

Despite the neverending siege in which For Sama is set, love emanates from the scene after scene. Waad falling in love and marrying Hamza, a young doctor. Waad celebrating new love when the two lines on her pregnancy stick test confirm she is expecting. Waad and Hamza’s love for their people that is at the heart of their conviction to remain in their beloved Aleppo. Hamza’s love as he leads the effort to create a makeshift hospital after the ones in the city are destroyed so he can attend to the numerous injured every day during the war.

And it’s love that drives Waad to capture with her camera what this war means for her family, neighbors, and the world. Sama asks people outside of Syria to expand their own capacity for love—and to ask ourselves whether we can do anything to alleviate the suffering of an ongoing war. —Maryam Abdullah

The Fierceness Award: Harriet

As a young Black girl, I was taught that Harriet Tubman brought slaves to freedom before and during the Civil War. For many, she is a footnote in Black History, known as a stubborn-looking middle-aged woman in a black-and-white picture.

The movie Harriet puts her life at the epicenter of American history—and it reminds us that the decision to take no more is a power like no other. In this movie, starring Cynthia Erivo (who is Oscar-nominated for lead actress and best song), Harriet Tubman comes to life with unflinching fierceness and determination.

Through Harriet, I learned so much about Tubman. We see the fire inside of a young Harriet, who understands what it is to be free above all. She was just one slave, one single woman, who was willing to put it all on the line and pay the ultimate cost of freedom for herself and her family—and who kept coming back to free hundreds of other slaves, after she could have lived a safer, more comfortable life. In every scene, Harriet is a superheroine, a real-life action figure who never took “NO” for an answer.

She even has a few superpowers that help her in her quest. After sustaining a head injury as a teen, at the hands of the plantation overseer, she starts “speaking to God” and having visions that guide her out of danger during her travels through the Underground Railroad, ushering slaves some 13 times through the dangerous route to freedom.

But her real superpower is simple fortitude and fierceness. There is a moment in the movie when she looks in the eye of her former master as she is just about to be captured. “I will live free or die,” she tells him—and we know she means it. Each and every frame of this film speaks to the high cost she gladly paid to be free.

After leaving the Underground Railroad movement we see Tubman, carrying a rifle, leading black troops in the Union army with the same intent and fierceness she displayed in ushering slaves to freedom. We’ve seldom seen such ferocity on-screen—and Hollywood has never shined a light on a historical Black female superhero like Harriet. —Andrea King Collier

Historical and Movie Harriet Tubman

The historical Harriet Tubman at left and the movie Harriet at right.

The Perseverance Award: Just Mercy

Imagine driving home after a long workday and seeing the flashing lights of a police blockade ahead. A line of officers awaits your arrival—with guns pointed at you. So begins Walter McMillian’s story in the film Just Mercy.

The police arrest McMillian (Jamie Foxx) on the spot. He is wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death based on the coerced false testimony of a career criminal. Soon attorney Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) comes to McMillian’s prison to talk about representing him. Through their two stories, the film—based on the memoir by the real-life Stevenson—depicts human lives stripped of dignity, breathing life into the statistics about unfair convictions (i.e., for every nine death-row inmates executed, one is exonerated).

Though the film forces us to experience the racist insularity of a criminal “justice” system where facts and evidence genuinely don’t matter, we also find hope in the perseverance and courage of Stevenson and his team. Stevenson won’t give up on McMillian, despite threats and warnings—and his diligence is inspiring.

At a time when many of us face our own sense of cynicism and demoralization in light of political and racial injustice around the globe, it’s important to remember that human dignity, tenacity, and hope can prevail. After over 30 years of steadfast advocacy work, the real-life Stevenson and his team at the Equal Justice Initiative have saved over 135 other men from the death penalty.

As Stevenson so eloquently states in the movie, “I’ve learned that each of us is more than the worst thing that we’ve ever done. That the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice.” —Amy L. Eva

The Self-Awareness Award: The Last Black Man in San Francisco

There’s a story at the heart of this tender, elegiac, observant film. I can’t tell you what that story is, precisely, because I don’t want to give away too much. It’s a story about who the main character, Jimmie Fails (played by Jimmie Fails), is, and it’s about where he belongs.

At the start of The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Jimmie thinks he knows where that story begins, and he thinks he knows the middle; on the surface, the movie is about how Jimmie works toward a specific happy ending.

But Jimmie’s story is not the movie’s story. In fact, it’s the difference between those two stories that generate the movie’s profound meaning.

It’s Jimmie’s best friend Mont (Jonathan Majors) who bridges the gap. Mont is an artist; he writes plays. And one play he writes—titled “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”—reveals to Jimmie why the story he’d been living isn’t good enough because it isn’t true. Jimmie allowed himself to become entrained by someone else’s story. To fulfill his potential, Jimmie needs to create his own story.

In short, Jimmie needs to become more self-aware. And he does, in The Last Black Man in San Francisco. Though the movie depicts one young man’s journey into self-knowledge, it gently asks all of us to wake the hell up. The film has a vividly sociological consciousness, a sense of social structures shaping individual lives. It makes visible the forces that have made Jimmie who he is, determining his possibilities. The question it asks is this: How do we as individuals make a place for ourselves in a society determined to take those places away? There’s a sadness in the film’s answer that is almost unbearable. – Jeremy Adam Smith

The Purpose Award: Little Women

Louisa May Alcott’s Civil War-era novel Little Women has inspired seven different film adaptations. It also inspired me to desperately want to be the flawed protagonist Jo March when I was in grade school. I even tried to write my own dramatic version of the novel but gave up when I realized what a daunting task it would be to get the spirit of the book perfectly right.

Fortunately, director Greta Gerwig is made of sterner stuff than I was in fifth grade.

Her version of Little Women goes back to the original text, along with author Alcott’s letters, to uncover moments of fierce determination and even anger. “I’m angry nearly every day of my life,” says Jo’s mother, Marmee, who in previous film versions was a bland and benevolent character who keeps her girls to the high and narrow. In this one, Marmee funnels her anger into a sense of purpose: she volunteers with the abolitionists; she brings aid and sustenance to those poorer than herself; she pulls her naughtiest child, Amy, from school when the teacher uses corporal punishment on her. She models fierce purpose for her children, especially Jo, whose biggest battle in life is against her own flaws of pride and temper.

The lesson in purpose sticks. When Jo inherits a mansion from her stodgy Aunt March, who believes a woman’s worth lies in the man she can marry, she tells her sisters she wants to do something that will make her aunt turn in her grave: turn the house into a school to serve the next generation. And she does. – Elise Proulx

The Resilience Award: Marriage Story

In Marriage Story, a stage director and an actress go through a divorce. It’s not a particularly bad divorce; it’s not very good, either. It’s a regular sort of divorce. It sucks, but—spoiler alert—no one dies.

Even so, I’ve heard many critics (especially in my Facebook feed!) complain that the smart, creative, attractive characters aren’t relatable to ordinary people who have been through a divorce. I think that’s both true and false.

In Marriage Story, director Noah Baumbach casts actors who have starred in international blockbusters (e.g., Scarlett Johansson in the Avengers movies and Adam Driver in Star Wars) and he then determinedly de-glamorizes them. Driver’s shirt comes half untucked; Johansson quite often seems like any frustrated mom. Onstage, the characters are both stars. Offstage, they worry about money and say foolish things in the heat of an argument, just like you and me. It’s all very ordinary, and I believe that’s the point Baumbach is trying to make in this film. It doesn’t matter how beautiful or famous you are. At the end of the day, we’re all just doing our best—and quite often failing.

Like almost all of Baumbach’s mature films—starting with The Squid and the Whale (2005)—Marriage Story feels like autobiographical real life. Parts of it are very raw; this is a film that frequently makes you cringe. These are basically decent people who have made mistakes. They say and do shitty things as their marriage dissolves.

What happens to these two after their marriage fails? Another spoiler: They’re not defined by their mistakes. Life goes on. Their wounds heal. Their careers continue. Driver’s character keeps going the way he had been, Johansson’s character seems to flourish, and their son gets happier. They remain a family, even after the parents stop living together.

In short, the divorce is a blow but the family recovers. In my experience, that’s a far more typical and realistic marriage story than the apocalyptic alternatives we see in so many other movies. There is no evil in Marriage Story—though, for most of the film, it’s hard to see the goodness in these characters. It takes time for the goodness to become visible again. Time, and persistence. —Jeremy Adam Smith

The Forgiveness Award: Pain and Glory

Salvador Mallo is a once-famous film director who now suffers excruciating back pain, constant heartbreak, and emotional estrangement from his mother. He’s still livid from a 32-year-long feud with an actor he once directed. He’s lost the desire to make new films. Pain and Glory is the story of how Salvador learns to forgive himself and others for their failures and shortcomings—and in doing so re-discovers his drive and creativity.

In a series of scenes that move fluidly between his past and his present, forgiveness starts with his body. After years of opioids for his pain, Salvador experiments with heroin, then finally forgives his body of its many misgivings and pursues treatments to alleviate some of his discomforts. As that process unfolds, he forgives himself for not being the son he’d hoped to be to his mother. Salvador’s missing lover returns briefly for a scene of subtly written and poignantly acted mutual forgiveness between the two, grey-bearded characters. But the most moving scenes involve his friend, the actor Alberto. It’s through their reconciliation that the once-defeated Salvador returns to his craft.

The film invites us to consider the ripple effect of forgiveness, as Salvador learns to acknowledge the truth of his emotional pain. As a result of that honesty, he frees himself (and others in his life) from things like needless anger, prolonged distrust, and excessive self-judgment. Once on the other side of forgiveness, he’s able to move forward with both a liberated spirit and a deepened compassion for the sorrow of others. —Alicia Crawford

The Intergroup Empathy Award: Parasite

You probably have strong feelings about the rich and the poor. Perhaps you think that the poor simply don’t work hard enough… or maybe you believe the very rich simply refuse to share their wealth and opportunities.

Parasite breaks those dichotomies down and makes us think again about what the poor and the rich might have in common. South Korean director Bong Joon-ho deftly using the fate of two South Korean families, one very rich and another very poor, to demonstrate how the two sides are pitted against each other in capitalist societies.

Joon-ho’s film is about anxiety on both sides of the class divide, with the poor Kims worrying themselves to death about keeping a roof over their heads and the wealthy Parks fretting over the private tutors they need to hire to make retain their family’s status as one of South Korea’s elite. Unlike Snowpiercer—an earlier film from Joon-ho about class warfare—Parasite asks us to sympathize with both sides of the equation, using equal parts comedy and drama to relay the director’s social commentary.

Ultimately, the film suggests to the audience that when we set up an economic system where people are forced into a vicious, zero-sum conflict, we shouldn’t be surprised when they start to play dirty. That might not sound like the most hopeful message—but it is a warning to those who think inequality is a good thing. Our salvation lies in empathy and cooperation, not fighting for scraps. – Zaid Jilani

The Compassionate Heroism Award: The Rise of Skywalker

What do heroes look like in blockbuster action flicks? They’re mostly superheroes who duke it out to ultimately kill superpowered pathological villains. That’s not the case in this year’s new Star Wars movie. Sure, the main protagonist Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) can indeed slice up villains with her lightsaber. In Rise of Skywalker, however, she offers an alternative to violence: compassionate action.

At one point the “good guys” (including one woman) sink through quicksand into a dark underground dirt-maze and are quickly confronted by a giant hissing fanged serpent. In a more typical movie, our heroes would just kill the monster. But in this one, Rey signals her team to stand down, puts her weapon away, and employs a new power: Force Healing. She locks eyes with the monster and tenderly places her hand on a bloody clawed gash. The wound heals and the monster slithers away…in gratitude?

Later in the movie, she uses the Force again to heal her love-hate adversary, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), of a fatal wound—a compassionate act that (spoiler alert!) turns him away from the Dark Side. Later, Kylo Ren returns the favor. Having once used the Force to kill people, he now turns it to bringing Rey back to life.

Rise of skywalker

Ren and Rey go head to head

While the idea that heroes are people who kill all the bad guys is entertaining, it puts being a hero out of reach for most of us. Compassion, however, is something we all can do, and the good news is that it doesn’t actually require magical superpowers. We, humans, are innately driven to nurture others’ pain and suffering and are enlivened by lending support. Ultimately, compassionate action is a way more realistic, and effective, strategy for real-life heroism. —Emiliana Simon-Thomas

What films did you see during the past year that inspired you?

About the Authors


Jeremy Adam Smith

UC Berkeley

Jeremy Adam Smith edits the GGSC’s online magazine, Greater Good. He is also the author or co-editor of four books, including The Daddy ShiftAre We Born Racist?, and The Compassionate Instinct. Before joining the GGSC, Jeremy was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. You can follow him on Twitter!


Elise Proulx

Elise Proulx is the Greater Good Science Center’s marketing director.


Jill Suttie

Jill Suttie, Psy.D., is Greater Good’s book review editor and a frequent contributor to the magazine.


Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas

Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., is the science director of the Greater Good Science Center.


Amy L. Eva

Amy L. Eva, Ph.D., is the associate education director at the Greater Good Science Center. She writes for the center’s online magazine, facilitates the Summer Institute for Educators, and consults on the development of GGSC education resources. With over 25 years in classrooms, she is a teacher at heart. She is fascinated by neuroscience, the psychology of learning, and adolescent development and has spent the last 12 years as a teacher educator.


Maryam Abdullah

UC Berkeley

Maryam Abdullah, Ph.D., is the Parenting Program Director of the Greater Good Science Center. She is a developmental psychologist with expertise in parent-child relationships and children’s development of prosocial behaviors.


Alicia Crawford

Alicia Crawford lives and works in Oakland as a maker, writer, program designer and wild enthusiast of all things accordion.

Andrea Collier

Andrea Collier is a multimedia journalist and award-winning author based in Lansing, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @andreacollier.


Zaid Jilani

Zaid Jilani is Greater Good‘s Bridging Differences Writing Fellow. A journalist originally from Atlanta, he has worked as a reporter for The Intercept and as a reporter-blogger for ThinkProgress, United Republic, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and Alternet.

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