Two for Tuesday: Neil Sedaka

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.

which one do you like better? Let me know in the comments. In the meantime, check out his website and the rest of his music on YouTube and your favorite music service.

Neil Sedaka: your Two for Tuesday, June 17, 2014.

7 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Neil Sedaka

    1. I think I remember the ’75 version better than the ’62 version. I didn’t start listening to the radio until ’64, after The Beatles, and by then it was a “golden oldie.”

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  1. I’m a Sedaka fan from way back. I’ve always felt like he was among those songwriters who had the formula to craft perfect pop. So many great songs!

    Gotta go with the more up tempo 60’s version since that’s the one that got me hooked on Sedaka.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I remember him more from his comeback in the ’70s, although he never really went anywhere; he was writing and recording straight through, and continues today. I almost consider The Captain and Tennille’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” (which he wrote) as his return to fame, and it was a very similar song, if you listen.

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  2. Now I remember the remake…. Have to say, I still prefer the original; it’s got a spunk to it that suggests that “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” but we’ll live on, keep enjoying our time, and find new love and things to experience.

    But timing definitely has played it’s part in my preference too. I heard the original first (and more often) before I heard the remake (my parents had a thing about ballads and almost never played them). It’s interesting how so many little things can affect our joys and passions.

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    1. This was one of the few times that I liked the remake better than the original (Eric Clapton ruined “Layla” with the remake), but as I said, I still like both. And Neil Sedaka is a great singer, songwriter, and musician. About that there is no argument.

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