HAVING been responsible for more than 1,000 pop songs, many of which are regarded as some of the finest ever written, you could forgive Neil Sedaka for resting on his laurels a little.

But at 73, an age when most successful musicians are content to sit back and stare at their gold discs, Neil is full of plans for the year to come.

In October he will embark on a 10-date UK tour, including a show at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall.

“There is no doubt that music has kept me young,” said Neil. “It is a very exciting thing to be able to reach people, to connect to them through your songs. It’s that wonderful feeling that drives me on.”

Songs such as Oh Carol, Breaking Up is Hard to Do and Laughter in the Rain have established Neil as one of the great songwriters. But it’s not something he takes for granted.

“The challenge of having a blank page in front of you can be frightening,” he said, “but it’s a challenge you have to rise to.

“Songs operate on three basic levels — the emotional, the psychological and the spiritual — and as a songwriter it’s your chance to get close to your audience. I have always been very personal about how I write, I write very much with my heart on my sleeve and I think it’s that emotional tone which people identify with.”

Both as an artist in his own write and as a songwriter for others Neil’s back catalogue is immense.

“I actually do have them all in files,” he said.

“But I can remember hundreds of them. I could never be in a play as I’d never be able to remember a single line but with my songs the lyrics just stay with me.”

Neil’s life was celebrated in a West End musical Laughter in the Rain and he was in the audience for its opening night.

“It was a terrrific show about my life but it was quite a surreal experience to see it. It was extremely emotional,” he said.

For his UK tour Neil promises a comprehensive selection of his hits, plus some new songs and “a few surprises”.

“I am so fortunate that some of my songs have become part of the history of American music. I am so fortunate to have been given a gift and I love to share it.

“I think there is a desire in every songwriter for a little bit of immortality and I’m sure my songs willbe remembered long after I’m gone.”

Neil Sedaka, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Wednesday, October 10. Details from 0161 907 9000