"Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" is a song recorded by Neil Sedaka, and co-written by Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. Sedaka recorded this song twice, in 1962 and 1975, in two vastly different arrangements, and it is considered to be his signature song. Another song by the same name had previously been recorded by Jivin' Gene [Bourgeois] and The Jokers, in 1959.
Neil Sedaka recorded both "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" and its B-side, "As Long as I Live" in Italian as "Tu Non Lo Sai" and "Finche Vivro", respectively, further endearing him to his Italian fans.
Described by AllMusic as "two minutes and sixteen seconds of pure pop magic," "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 11, 1962 and peaked at number twelve on the Hot R&B Sides chart. The single was a solid hit all over the world, reaching number 7 in the UK, sometimes with the text translated into foreign languages. For example, the Italian version was called "Tu non lo sai" ("You Don't Know") and was recorded by Sedaka himself.
On this version, background vocals on the song are performed by the female group The Cookies.
The personnel on the original recording session included: Al Casamenti, Art Ryerson, and Charles Macy on guitar; Ernie Hayes on piano; George Duvivier on bass; Gary Chester on drums; Artie Kaplan on saxophone; George Devens and Phil Kraus on percussion; Seymour Barab and Morris Stonzek on cellos; and David Gulliet, Joseph H. Haber, Harry Kohon, David Sackson, and Louis Stone on violins.
Though originally an uptempo song, Sedaka re-recorded it as a ballad in 1975. The slower arrangement was originally debuted by Lenny Welch; it peaked at #34 on the US Billboard charts in January 1970. Sedaka's slow version peaked at #8 in February 1976 and went to number one on the Easy Listening chart. It was only the second time that an artist made the Billboard Top Ten with two different versions of the same song.
Apart from Sedaka's own reworking of the song, by far the most successful cover of "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" was done by the Partridge Family in 1972. While only a medium hit in North America, their version reached number 3 in both the UK and Australia.