Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Songs #153 & 154 - It's TWOsday!

Song #153 of 9999                                                  Song #154 of 9999

Title: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do                             Title: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
Artist: Neil Sedaka                                                  Artist: Neil Sedaka
Year: 1962                                                               Year: 1975
Album: N/A - single release only                             Album: The Hungry Years

I've gushed about the Brill Building and its amazing collection of songwriters in earlier posts, and by 1962, the hit parade was dominated by songwriting teams Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield (to name a few). While the former were engaged in writing songs for others (King didn't become well known as a performer until 1969), Sedaka chose to record many of his own songs and scored a big hit with "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do." Capitalizing on the success of vocal harmony groups like The Everly Brothers, Sedaka's 1962 hit features close harmony and doo-wop backing vocals that invite the listener to sing along with its smart lyrics. 

Interestingly, Sedaka returned to the song a dozen years later to record a ballad version stripped of the bells and whistles of the 1962 arrangement. The jazzy piano version didn't chart quite as high as its predecessor but it did establish Sedaka as one, if not the only, artist to hit the top ten with two versions of the same song. I think I like the original version more but the slow version certainly has its charms. I'll let you decide for yourself which one is better. Happy TWOsday!

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