Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Album: Neil Sedaka Sings His Greatest Hits (1962)
Charted: 7 1

Songfacts®:

  • A doo-wop pop song, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" finds Sedaka pleading with a girl, asking her to remember the good times, as he knows he'll be in misery if she leaves.
  • Although Sedaka had had eight Top 10 hits in the US to this point, this was his very first #1. Howie Greenfield penned the lyrics at Sedaka's urging, and then it was presented to Barry Mann (of the Mann and Weil songwriting team) for appraisal. Mann didn't think much of it, so Sedaka then added the opening "dooby-doo" part.
  • The 1975 re-release of this song at a slower tempo, on the album Hungry Years, was just an afterthought. But when it charted all over again at #8, that was his 18th Top 40 Billboard hit out of a career total of 21.
  • This song also charted for the Happenings (1968 #67 in US), Lenny Welch (1970 #34 in US) and the Partridge Family (1972 #28 in US and #3 in UK).
  • According to Sedaka, the song was inspired by the Showmen's song "It Will Stand."
  • One lucky shot that this song had was debuting on June 30, 1962. This placed it in the perfect spot to start getting heavy airplay during the July 4th weekend, with vacationing teens at the parks and beaches requesting the song over and over again. Note to song promoters: Release your single right before a holiday weekend.
  • Shortly after this song came out, Sedaka married his longtime sweetheart Leba Strasberg. Now, the next part is unexpected enough that we have to cite Rich Podolsky's book Don Kirshner: The Man with the Golden Ear: When Neil proposed over the phone, Leba didn't believe him, so she asked him to put Howie Greenfield on the line. Howie came on and soberly advised her that Neil Sedaka was serious and that he really did want to marry her. They were married September 11, 1962. Around this time, Sedaka was second only to Elvis Presley in record sales. Neil and Leba are still together.
  • In 2010, Sedaka released Waking Up is Hard to Do, a collection of his hits reinterpreted as children's songs.

Comments: 18

  • Jean from Austin, TxEkristheh from Halath, glad someone else remembers that version.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1972 {August 31st} Danny Bonaduce was a guest on the nationally syndicated weekday-afternoon television program, 'The Mike Douglas Show'...
    At the time he was playing Danny Partridge on the ABC-TV musical comedy series 'The Partridge Family'...
    And also at the time the Partridge Family's covered version of "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" was at #51 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, it was also in it's tenth and final week on the Top 100, and two weeks earlier it had peaked at #28 {for 1 week}...
    As noted above, it reached #3 in United Kingdom and it also peaked at #3 in Australia...
    Between 1970 and 1973 the made-for-TV family had nine records on the Top 100 chart, three made the Top 10, "I Think I Love"* {#1 for 3 weeks in 1970}, "Doesn't Somebody Want To Be Wanted" {#6 for 1 week in 1971}, and "I'll Meet You Halfway" {#9 for 2 weeks in 1971}...
    Lead singer David Cassidy passed away at the young age of 67 on November 21st, 2017...
    May he R.I.P.
    * And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, in the year 1970 there were two 'I Think I Love You' records on the Top 100, the Partridge's "I Think I Love" and Brenda Lee's "I Think I Love You Again", it spent two weeks on the Top 100, peaking at #97...
  • Ekristheh from HalathIn 1984, Bob Rivers and the American Comedy Network released a parody of this entitled "Breaking Up Is Hard On You," with lyrics expressing displeasure over the breakup of the Bell Telephone System.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyCONGRATULATIONS to Mr. & Mrs. Sedaka, married 53 years ago today on September 11th, 1962!
    And on the day of their wedding Neil's "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" was at #11 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and the song certainly does not apply to Leba and Neil.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 28th 1962, Neil Sedaka started a tour of South American with a concert in Lima, Peru...
    And back in the U.S.A. his "Breaking Up In Hard to Do" was in its first week on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #66; six weeks later it peaked at #1 {for 2 weeks} and stayed on the chart for 14 weeks...
    Between 1959 and 1980 he had thirty Top 100 records, nine made the Top 10 with three reaching #1, his two other #1 records were "Laughter in the Rain" for 1 week in 1975 and "Bad Blood" for 3 weeks in 1975.
  • Dt from Perdido BeachThe slow version is great. I remember dancing to it in the mid 70's with a beautiful older woman I had met in my apartment building. We had a brief, but wonderful romantic relationship.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 4th 1970, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" by Lenny Welch entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart for a four week stay, peaking at #83...
    Neil Sedaka's original version reached #1 on August 12th, 1962; the #2 record was "The Loco-Motion" by Little Eva, and the girl group The Cookies sang back-up on both records...
    In 1975 Mr. Sedaka released the slower version of the song; and on February 7th, 1976 it peaked at #1 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    Mr. Sedaka will celebrate his 75th birthday in two months on March 13th, and Mr. Welch turns 76 come May 15th.
  • Rich from Bethpage, NyI would love to know who the girls are singing in the background (of the original). A lot of great 60's girl groups came out of the Brill Building.
  • Christopher from Charlotte, NcThere were several cover versions, including a slow cover version by Sedaka himself in 1975. However, I believe the first cover version of all was from Shelley Fabares. Her version has the EXACT same arrangement as Sedaka's original, and it came out the same year as Sedaka's original fast version, 1962. So I believe Shelley's was the first of many cover versions, and there WERE many.
  • Michael from Staten Island, NyI think this song was on an Allstate commercial about how if you switch to Allstate, then Allstate will call your previous insurance company to let them know that you are switching to Allstate.
  • Arlene from Warrington, PaI am trying to locate the 1975 piano sheet music for the remake of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. It is the slow version. Does anyone have a copy of that arrangement? I have been looking for years. Any help would be most appreciated.
  • Robert from Houston, TxThis song was featured in the 1985 teen movie "Better Off Dead" starring John Cusack. Having been dumped by his girlfriend, Cusack's character (Lane Meyer) is cruising through town and flipping through channels on the radio. Songs heard include "She's Gone" (Hall & Oates), "Hurts So Bad" (Linda Ronstadt), and so on - followed by this song. The scene ends with the radio (trailing wires from the dashboard) being tossed out the window.
  • Michael from Chicago, IlWhen I was in High School - there was a story circulating that Neil Sedaka could not believe the money he made off this song. His ran to show his mother his first royalty check exclaiming "Look, Ma - $6,900". His mother looked at the check and said "Neil, this is actually a check for $69,000" (proven to be a true story)
  • Bevy from Rialto, CaI have to disagree. I think the original version was annoying. The remake was much more sexy melodic.
  • Farrah from Elon, NcThe 1962 version of "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do", was the best. The 1976 version however, was horrible. The song was perfect as is. Mr. Sedaka should have left it alone.
  • Alf from Kingston, CanadaHey Kevin you can get a copy on Time Life CD's (Mellow Hits of the 70's) of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, it entered Billboard Charts Dec 13, 1975.
  • Kevin from San Francisco, CaHi
    I'm looking for the 1978 remake version of Breaking up is Hard to do by Neil Sedaka, but have had no luck in finding it. Can somebody tell me what album that version is on, or where I may be able to find ? I would truly appreciate it very much !! thanks!
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnThere was also a remake by The Partridge Family in early 1972.
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