Break It to Me Gently

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"Break It to Me Gently"
Break It to Me Gently - Brenda Lee.jpg
Single by Brenda Lee
from the album ..."Let Me Sing"
B-side"So Deep"
ReleasedJanuary 8, 1962
RecordedAugust 31, 1961
GenreVocal, country
LabelDecca 31348
Songwriter(s)Joe Seneca, Diane Lampert
Producer(s)Owen Bradley
Brenda Lee singles chronology
"Fool #1"
"Break It to Me Gently"
"Speak to Me Pretty"

"Break It to Me Gently" is a pop song written by blues musician Joe Seneca with lyrics by Diane Lampert. Both Brenda Lee and Juice Newton met with considerable success with their versions of the song.

Brenda Lee recorded "Break It to Me Gently" on August 31, 1961 with Owen Bradley producing the session at his Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville:[1] after another track from the same session, "Fool #1", had become a Top Ten hit. "Break It To Me Gently" was released as a single at the end of 1961 and reached number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 in January 1962. In 2008, the Brenda Lee version of the song was featured at the closing of season 2, episode 7 of the AMC series Mad Men. Lee's "Break It to Me Gently" is on the track list of the CD Pan Am: Music From and Inspired By the Original Series set for release January 17, 2012.[2]

Juice Newton cover[edit]

"Break It to Me Gently"
Break It to Me Gently - Juice Newton.jpg
Single by Juice Newton
from the album Quiet Lies
B-side"Adios Mi Corazon"
ReleasedAugust 1982
GenreVocal, country
Songwriter(s)Joe Seneca, Diane Lampert
Producer(s)Richard Landis
Juice Newton singles chronology
"Love's Been a Little Bit Hard on Me"
"Break It to Me Gently"
"Heart of the Night"

Juice Newton had included "Break It to Me Gently" in the set list for her 1981 national tour: New York Times music critic Stephen Holden terming Newton's "steamy version" of the song the concert's highlight.[3] Newton made her recording of the song at Soundcastle Studio in Hollywood CA on January 11, 1982: this was the first session of recording the tracks which would compose Newton's Quiet Lies album whose lead single: "Love's Been a Little Bit Hard on Me" was the one other track recorded in that session.[4] Issued as the second single from Quiet Lies in August 1982, "Break It to Me Gently" just missed becoming Newton's fifth consecutive Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 peaking at number 11 that October. The track reached number one on the US Adult Contemporary chart (making it Newton's third number one on that chart),[5] and number two on the US country singles chart.[6] Newton won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female, for her performance of the song. Newton would score two more Top 40 hits after "Break It to Me Gently".

Chart performance[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1982) Peak
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 2
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[7] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 11
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[9] 1
US Cash Box Top 100[10] 9

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1982) Rank
US (Joel Whitburn's Pop Annual)[11] 73
US Cash Box [12] 58

Johnny Hallyday version (in French)[edit]

"Quitte-moi doucement"
Single by Johnny Hallyday
Released1963 (1963)
FormatEP, 7" single
Johnny Hallyday singles chronology
"Tes tendres années"
"Les Bras en croix" / "Quitte-moi doucement" / "Quand un air vous possède" / "Quitte-moi doucement" / "Quand un air vous possède" / "Dis-moi oui"
"Da dou ron ron"

The French rendering "Quitte-moi doucement" was recorded by Johnny Hallyday.

Track listings[edit]

7" EP Philips 432.908 BE (1963, France, Spain, etc.)

A1. "Les bras en croix" (2:13)
A2. "Quitte-moi doucement" ("Break It to Me Gently") (2:30)
B1. "Quand un air vous possède" ("When My Little Girl Is Smiling") (2:17)
B2. "Dis-moi oui" ("We Say Yeah") (2:07)[13][14]

7" single "Ma guitare / Quitte-moi doucement" Philips JF 328 009 (1963, Netherlands)

A. "Ma guitare" (1:50)
AA. "Quitte-moi doucement" (2:15)[15]

Other cover versions[edit]

"Break It to Me Gently" has also been recorded by Ruth Brown, Linda Martin, Lorrie Morgan, Bobby Rydell and Guy Lombardo.

An alternate French rendering, "Brise doucement notre amour", was recorded by Québécois singer Michèle Richard (fr). Deana Martin recorded "Break It To Me Gently" on her 2013 album Destination Moon. In 2016, Aubrey Peeples performed the song at the Grand Ole Opry.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2010-06-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Holden, Stephen (22 June 1981). "Country-Pop: Juice Newton". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-07-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 180.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 248.
  7. ^ "Juice Newton Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  8. ^ "Juice Newton Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Juice Newton Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  10. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, November 6, 1982
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
  12. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 25, 1982
  13. ^ "Johnny Hallyday - Les Bras En Croix at Discogs". Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  14. ^ " - Johnny Hallyday - Les bras en croix". Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  15. ^ "Johnny Hallyday - Ma Guitare / Quitte-Moi Doucement (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2017-11-11.

External links[edit]