Thursday, May 15, 2014

Cusp Song of the Day: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Neil Sedaka's original upbeat 1962 hit "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" was remade in 1975 as a ballad. Both versions of the song appear in Cusp on the same jukebox as ZZ Top's "Tush." And both hit the Top 10 and were completely ubiquitous in their respective years.

According to Weekly Top 40, only two other acts in the history of Billboard's Hot 100 chart have made the Top 10 with two versions of the same song. Surf icons the Ventures did it with the instrumental “Walk, Don’t Run” in 1960 and ”Walk, Don’t Run ’64″ in, duh, 1964. Elton John did it twice, with “Candle in the Wind” in 1974 and ”Candle in the Wind 1997″ in honor of Princess Diana, as well as “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” a solo hit in 1974 and as a duet with George Michael in 1991-92. Interestingly, Elton was responsible for '60s hitmaker Sedaka's '70s comeback, as detailed here.

"Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" was written by Sedaka with Howard Greenfield. Each version spent about three months on the charts, the original version hitting number 1 and the remake, which entered the chart Christmas week 1975, peaking at number 8.

Since the Supremes feature so heavily in Cusp, here's a little Supremes-Sedaka history: A 1983 Sedaka concept album Come See About Me, redid '60s pop hits with an interesting collection of collaborators. Producer Dan Hartman brought in Edgar Winter, with whom he'd performed as a member of the Edgar Winter Group, to play sax. Ashford & Simpson, Gary U.S. Bonds, Neil's daughter Dara Sedaka, Hartman and Mary Wilson all contributed vocals - Mary Wilson reprising her Supremes-era background sound on the title track. The talented Dan Hartman died in 1995 and is missed by those who knew his kind and generous ways.