In the late Fifties and early Sixties, Neil Sedaka had an impressive string of hits for RCA. By far, his biggest hit was “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” which peaked at #1 in the US in 1962. It was to be his last #1 song in this country until the mid-Seventies. The British Invasion had knocked him down in the charts, and by 1966 RCA decided to drop him from their roster.
In 1974, the movie American Graffiti, with Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfus, sparked new interest in the musical acts from the early Sixties. Soon Neil, who was still writing and recording music and helping artists such as The Captain and Tenille, was back on everyone’s radar. He had a #1 hit in 1974 with “Laughter In The Rain”, and another in 1975 with “Bad Blood”, which included vocals by Elton John. His next hit record was a remake of “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.” Rather than as a fun rocker, he recorded it as a bluesy ballad. It reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #7 on the Cashbox 100.
So, don’t be upset that I chose “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do” twice for today’s 2-fer. First we have the 1962 version:
Next, the 1975 version:
This of course, begs the question, which one was better? For me, although I love the ’62 version, the ’75 version was more of a departure for Neil, one in which he got the opportunity to show what an excellent voice he had and that he was a fine piano player. Both are from a great musician at the top of his game, but given the choice, I like the ’75 remake.
Neil Sedaka: your Two for Tuesday, June 17, 2014.