Neil Sedaka

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

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
Sings His Greatest Hits 1962 RCA 2:18
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
2:17
No Image 1989
Various Artists
Rhino
No Image 1989 BMG 2:20
Oh! Carol & Other Big Hits 1989 RCA Camden Classics / Pair 2:16
Nipper's #1 Hits: 1956-1986 1990
Various Artists
RCA
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
Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1962 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 2:18
Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1962-1966 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 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
WCBS FM 101.1 25th Anniversary, Vol. 2: The 60's - Silver Anniversary Edition 1997
Various Artists
Collectables 2:21
WODS Oldies 103 Boston, Vol. 2: The 60's - Tenth Anniversary Edition 1997
Various Artists
Collectables 2:21
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 Music 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
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
BMG Special Products 2:17
AM Gold: Mellow Hits of the '70s 2000
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:17
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 RCA 2:19
The Ultimate Rock & Roll Collection: The 60's 2001
Various Artists
Collectables 2:21
A Year in Your Life: 1962, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 2:20
Viva Las Vegas [Universal International] 2002
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:18
Best Selection 2002 BMG International 2:20
Legendary 2002 BMG International 2:18
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
No Image 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:18
Sixties Classics [BMG] 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:19
Best of Neil Sedaka: Stairway to Heaven 2004 BMG Special Products 2:18
Love Songs 2005 BMG Heritage / RCA / Legacy 2:22
Hits of the 60's [Legacy Box] 2005
Various Artists
Legacy 4:08
Sensational Sixties [BMG Special Products] 2006
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:19
Collections 2006 Legacy / Sony BMG 2:16
Ultimate Roots of Rock and Roll 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:18
100 Hits: 60s 2007
Various Artists
DMG / DMG TV 2:17
Dreamboats and Petticoats, Vol. 2 2008
Various Artists
Universal Records 2:15
No Image 2008 Sony BMG 2:22
Summer Holiday: 40 Summer Classics from Yesteryear 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:16
Haynes Ultimate Guide to the 60s 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:17
Pure... 60s 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:17
The Real Neil 2012 Music Infinity 2:59
The 1962 British Hit Parade, Pt. 2: May-September [Acrobat] 2013
Various Artists
Acrobat Music 2:21
Britain's Greatest Hits 1962 2013
Various Artists
Acrobat Licensing / Fabulous 2:21
Hit Parade 1962 2013
Various Artists
Dynamic 2:16
The Complete Singles and EPs: As & Bs, 1956-62 2014 Acrobat Music 2:20
100 Hits: Pop Essentials
Various Artists
DMG TV 2:17
60s U.S. Playlist
Various Artists
Crimson 2:19
America's Greatest Hits, Vol. 13: 1962
Various Artists
Acrobat Music / Trapeze 2:20
David Hamilton's Relaxing Moods MCPS 4:09
Essential: Cool Cats
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:17
Sixties Collection, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Going For A Song 4:09
The 60's Collection
Various Artists
Going For A Song 4:09
The Sockhop Collection: Be My Baby
Various Artists
StarVista 2:20