A doo-wop pop song, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" finds Sedaka pleading with a girl, asking her to remember the good times, as he knows he'll be in misery if she leaves.
Although Sedaka had had eight Top 10 hits in the US to this point, this was his very first #1. Howie Greenfield penned the lyrics at Sedaka's urging, and then it was presented to Barry Mann (of the Mann and Weil songwriting team) for appraisal. Mann didn't think much of it, so Sedaka then added the opening "dooby-doo" part.
The 1975 re-release of this song at a slower tempo, on the album Hungry Years, was just an afterthought. But when it charted all over again at #8, that was his 18th Top 40 Billboard hit out of a career total of 21.
According to Sedaka, the song was inspired by the Showmen's song "It Will Stand."
One lucky shot that this song had was debuting on June 30, 1962. This placed it in the perfect spot to start getting heavy airplay during the July 4th weekend, with vacationing teens at the parks and beaches requesting the song over and over again. Note to song promoters: Release your single right before a holiday weekend.
Shortly after this song came out, Sedaka married his longtime sweetheart Leba Strasberg. Now, the next part is unexpected enough that we have to cite Rich Podolsky's book Don Kirshner: The Man with the Golden Ear: When Neil proposed over the phone, Leba didn't believe him, so she asked him to put Howie Greenfield on the line. Howie came on and soberly advised her that Neil Sedaka was serious and that he really did want to marry her. They were married September 11, 1962. Around this time, Sedaka was second only to Elvis Presley in record sales. Neil and Leba are still together.
In 2010, Sedaka released Waking Up is Hard to Do, a collection of his hits reinterpreted as children's songs.