Neil Sedaka

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Composed by Howard Greenfield / Neil Sedaka

Song Review by

Two minutes and sixteen seconds of pure pop magic, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" is the signature tune for performer Neil Sedaka, the king of his twenty-one Top 40 hits. Unlike "The Monster Mash" - which went back to the Top 10 with the same version eleven years after it hit #1 - and "The Twist" which hit #1 in 1960 and came back to do the same thing (with the same version as well) fifteen months later in 1961, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" went to the top spot in July of 1962 and came back in December of 1975 to solidly hit the Top 10 (and #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts) in a cocktail version as dramatic as Burton Cummings humorous revision of Bachman Turner Overdrive's gem "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet". RCA Victor single ##8046 was Sedaka's 9th Top 40 hit while Rocket Records #40500 was his 18th. It's the same song only dramatically rearranged to fit into the world Neil helped spawn a year before with his second #1 hit, "Laughter In The Rain", as well as with the key song which launched the career of Captain & Tennille in May of 1975, "Love Will Keep Us Together". Helen Reddy, Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton-John, Kenny Rogers and many others owe their soft rock success in part to the Brill Building sound crafted by Sedaka and his various associates and that evolution is precisely documented from the rock & roll sixties sound of the original to the soul-searching re-invention that was the 1975/1976 ballad. In performance it really is two different songs with the same words and the same melody - the music transformed, the energy translated but just as powerful. The song, like the artist, matured, and it is a significant moment in pop. The Four Seasons - a 1960's group which like Sedaka found re-birth in the '70's - witnessed their latter day #1 going Top 15 eighteen years after the fact in 1994, but that was a dance re-mix, not a re-make per se, of "December 1963 (Oh What A Night)". "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" has the distinction of being a copyright that came back for the original artist in a way that fit the time, a time he helped create, sounds he was identified with in two separate decades. Covered by Carole King, Tom Jones, The Carpenters, The Happenings, Sha Na Na, Eydie Gorme, David Cassidy, Little Eva and a host of others.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Neil Sedaka Sings His Greatest Hits 1962 BMG International 2:18
Solitaire 1972 Pazzazz 4:02
The Hungry Years 1975 Varèse Vintage / Varèse Sarabande 3:21
No Image 1977 Rocket Group Pty LTD 3:12
No Image 1986 Polydor 3:12
All Time Greatest Hits 1988 RCA 2:16
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1962 - Still Rockin' 1988
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Oh! Carol & Other Big Hits 1989 RCA Camden Classics / Pair 2:16
Greatest Hits [Germany 1990] 1990 RCA
Nipper's Greatest Hits: The 60's, Vol. 1 [1990] 1990
Various Artists
RCA 2:21
Oh! Carol & Other Hits 1990 Dst 2:17
AM Gold: 1962 1991
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:21
Greatest Hits Live [K-Tel] 1992 K-Tel Distribution 4:15
Rock 'N' Roll Love Songs [Dino] 1993
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment 2:18
The Brill Building Sound 1993
Various Artists
Era Records 2:18
Laughter in the Rain: The Best of Neil Sedaka, 1974-1980 1994 Varèse Vintage / Varèse Sarabande 3:15
Tuneweaver 1995 Varèse Vintage / Varese 2:17
The Immaculate 1997 Prism Platinum 4:12
WOGL 10th Anniversary, Vol. 2: Best of the 60's 1997
Various Artists
Collectables 2:21
Whole Lotta Rock: 1962-1963 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 2:19
Rock 'N Roll Relix: 1960-1969 1997
Various Artists
Eclipse Music Group 2:19
Only Love 1960-1964 1997
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:16
Love Songs of the 60's, 70's and 80's 1998
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 2:21
Highway Rock: Breaking up Is Hard to Do 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:18
No Image 1998
Original Soundtrack
Warner Special Products 2:18
Love Songs [Columbia River] 1999
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 2:21
The Best of Neil Sedaka [Arista] 1999 Arista 2:21
The Very Best of Neil Sedaka [Universal #1] 1999 Universal Distribution 3:16
Sings the Hits 1999 RCA 2:18
Nipper's Greatest Hits: The 60's, Vol. 1 [1999] 1999
Various Artists
RCA 2:24
60's Time Tunnel, Vol. 2 2000
Various Artists
Legacy 4:08
Magic Collection: Neil Sedaka 2000 The Magic Collection 4:08
Laughter & Tears 2000 Spectrum Music 3:15
Singer and His Songs 2000 Music Club International Records 2:18
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:17
Unforgettable Love Songs [Legacy] 2001
Various Artists
ATP Recordings 4:08
Love Affair: Sixties Love Songs 2001
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 2:21
The Very Best of Neil Sedaka [RCA] 2001 PolyGram 3:15
The Songmaker's Collection: Music from the Brill Building 2001
Various Artists
Q Records 2:19
The Ultimate Rock & Roll Collection: The 60's 2001
Various Artists
Collectables 2:21
Singers & Songwriters: Late '70s [2001] 2001
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Viva Las Vegas [Universal International] 2002
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:18
Legendary 2002 BMG International 2:18
Best of Neil Sedaka [Castle Pulse] 2002 Castle Pulse 4:09
Oh Carol: In Concert 2002 Unlimited Media
Laughter in the Rain [Disky] 2002 GO (Netherlands)
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Realm Records 2:23
Top Hits of the Sixties: Coolest Hits 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:17
Platinum & Gold Collection 2003 RCA 2:16
Oh Carol: The Complete Recordings 1956-1966 2003 Bear Family Records 2:19
Hits of the 60's [2003 Import] 2004
Various Artists
Delta Blue 4:05
Sixties Classics [BMG] 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:19
Anthology: 40 Years of Hits and More 2004 BMG International
No Image 2004 Forever Gold / Weton 4:07
Best of Neil Sedaka: Stairway to Heaven 2004 BMG Special Products 2:18
Love Songs 2005 BMG Heritage / RCA/Legacy 2:22
No Image 2005
Various Artists
Legacy 4:08
Cry Me a River 2005
Various Artists
Prism Leisure Corporation (UK) / Prism Platinum
Greatest Love Songs of the 60's 2005
Various Artists
Marks & Spencer 2:16
Magical Memories for Mum 2006
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
The Show Goes On: The Very Best of Neil Sedaka 2006 Universal / Universal International 2:19
Sensational Sixties [BMG Special Products] 2006
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:19
Collections 2006 Legacy / Sony BMG 2:16
The Show Goes On: Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2006 Eagle Vision
Ultimate Roots of Rock and Roll 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:18
Malt Shop Memories: Jukebox Jems 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:22
Laughter in the Rain [Pazzazz] 2007 Pazzazz 4:02
The Definitive Collection 2007 Razor & Tie 2:19
Malt Shop Memories, Vol. 5 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:22
100 Hits: 60s 2007
Various Artists
DMG / DMG TV 2:17
Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen: The Very Best of Neil Sedaka 2007 Music Club Records 2:18
Absolute 60s Legends 2007
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:18
Top Hits of the 60s: Coolest Hits 2007
Various Artists
Collectables 2:17
Oh! Carol [LT Series] 2007 Lt Series 4:09
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Sony BMG / Sony Music Distribution 2:18
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Euro Trend / MCP 2:15
No Image 2008
Various Artists
sbc
Malt Shop Memories [Box Set] 2008
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:22
Ultimate 60s Collection, Vol. 1 2008
Various Artists
Collectables 2:22
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Sony BMG 2:17
Summer Holiday: 40 Summer Classics from Yesteryear 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:16
The Music of My Life 2010 Universal Distribution 2:20
Laughter in the Rain 2010 Universal
No Image 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:15
Greatest Ever! Pop: The Definitive Collection 2011
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 2:17
Haynes Ultimate Guide to the 60s 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:17
The Tra-La Days Are Over/Overnight Success 2012 Beat Goes On 3:17
The  Show Goes On: Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2012 Eagle Records / Eagle Rock 2:26
200 Sixties Hits: 200 Classic No. 1 Songs from the 60s 2012
Various Artists
Maximuze 2:19
The Real Neil 2012 Music Infinity 2:59
Hits of the 60s [Music Digital 2012] 2012
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:16
A Groovy Kind of Love 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:17
The Essential Collection 2013 Metro
Those Were the Days [Sony] 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:17
Dick Clark's Jukebox Gems 2013
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:20
The 1962 British Hit Parade, Pt. 2: May-September [Acrobat] 2013
Various Artists
Acrobat / Acrobat Music 2:21
Pure... Rock 'n' Roll 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:15
100 Hits: 60s Originals 2013
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:17
Hit Parade 1962 2013
Various Artists
Dynamic 2:16
Top 40: '60s Pop 2014
Various Artists
Crimson
Hits Around the World 2014 Sepia Records 2:21
The Complete Singles and EPs: As & Bs, 1956-62 2014 Acrobat Music 2:20
'60s Summer Album 2016
Various Artists
Crimson
100 Hits: Cool 2016
Various Artists
100 Hits / Demon / Edsel
100 Hits: 60s [2015]
Various Artists
100 Hits
No Image
Various Artists
Rare Jazz Music Ltd 2:22
1962 British Hit Parade, Pt. 2: July-December [Fantastic Voyage]
Various Artists
Fantastic Voyage 2:18
No Image
Various Artists
Laurie 2:16
America's Greatest Hits, Vol. 13: 1962
Various Artists
Acrobat / Trapeze 2:20
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:15
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do/Next Door To An Angel Sound and Vision 2:22
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:18
Decade of Hits: The 60's
Various Artists
Dynamic / Dynamic Nostalgia
Dreamboats & Miniskirts: Those Were the Days
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:17
Dreamboats and Petticoats: 10th Anniversary Collection
Various Artists
UMOD 2:16
Fab Hits, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Sound and Vision 2:51
Golden Oldies Hit Series, Vol. 37
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:10
Oldies Hits A to Z, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:15
No Image
Various Artists
K-Tel 2:18
No Image
Various Artists
Phantom Import Distribution
Sixties Collection, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Going For A Song 4:09
No Image
Various Artists
Documents
The  Sensational Sixties! 1962: Sealed with a Kiss
Various Artists
DM Digital 2:19
The 60's Collection
Various Artists
Going For A Song 4:09
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