Born in Brooklyn 30 years apart, singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka, the onetime Brill Building composer who found unlikely midcareer success with Elton John, and multidimensional rap entrepreneur Jay Z, still defining much of contemporary music and style through his Roc Nation conglomerate, have been among the most prolific producers of radio-ready hits in pop history. But it’s safe to say the career of each is a mystery to fans of the other. With the two performing in South Florida Thursday night — Sedaka at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach and Jay Z at the BB&T Center in Sunrise — test yourself by naming which artist fits each description below. (Answers at bottom)
1. He is a taxi driver’s son who attended Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School.
2. When his 11th album hit No.1 on the Billboard 200, he surpassed Elvis Presley as the solo-artist record holder.
3. With No. 1 hits in the U.S., Japan, Britain, Italy and other countries, his net worth is estimated at $300 million.
4. First No. 1 single included a prominent shout-out to an ex-girlfriend who went on to singing stardom.
5. Ranked the 88th greatest artist of all time by Rolling Stone.
6. Had first publishing credit for a song written at age 16.
7. Early hit was a spin on a family-friendly Broadway musical.
8. Made a cameo appearance in the movie “Playgirl Killer.”
9. Lyric to one of his hit songs: “You said that you had it made. But you been had./The woman no good, no how. Thinkin' maybe the blood is bad.”
10. One of his biggest hits was used in a 2010 TV ad campaign featuring actor Dennis Haysbert.
11. Lyric to one of his hit songs: “Have you ever been to heaven? Have you ever seen the gates?/Have you bowed down to your highness? And do you know how heaven tastes?”
12. Co-producer of “Fela!” the Broadway musical about Nigerian performer Fela Kuti.
ANSWERS: 1. Sedaka (Jay Z, also born in Brooklyn, attended Eli Whitney High School, among others) 2. Jay Z 3. Sedaka (Jay Z is worth $475 million, according to Forbes) 4. Sedaka (“Oh, Carol” was named for high school flame Carole King) 5. Jay Z 6. Sedaka (The Tokens’ “While I Dream”) 7. Jay Z (“Hard Knock Life [Ghetto Anthem]” sampled song from “Annie”) 8. Sedaka 9. Sedaka (“Bad Blood”) 10. Sedaka (“Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” for an Allstate ad) 11. Jay Z (“Heaven”) 12. Jay Z
Copyright © 2015, South Florida