"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: 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 #4 on the Hot 100 in Billboard 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 tracklist of the CD Pan Am: Music From and Inspired By the Original Series set for release January 17, 2012.
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. 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 comprise 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. 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 #11 that October. The track reached #1 on the BillboardAdult Contemporary chart (making it Newton's third #1 on that chart), and #2 on the Billboardcountry singles chart. 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", neither of which reached the Top 20. From 1985, Newton shifted the musical focus of her career in a more emphatically C&W-oriented direction.