How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

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"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"
Single by Bee Gees
from the album Trafalgar
B-side "Country Woman"
Released June 1971
Format 7", 45 rpm
Recorded 28 January 1971
IBC Studios, London
Genre Soft rock
Length 3:57
Label Polydor
Atco (United States, Canada)
Writer(s) Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb
Producer(s) Robert Stigwood, Bee Gees
Bee Gees singles chronology
"Lonely Days"
(1970)
"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"
(1971)
"Don't Wanna Live Inside Myself"
(1971)
Music sample
"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"
Song by Al Green from the album Let's Stay Together
Released 1972
Genre R&B, soul
Length 6:22
Label Hi
Producer Willie Mitchell
Let's Stay Together track listing
"I've Never Found a Girl (Who Loves Me Like You Do)"
(6)
"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"
(7)
"Judy"
(8)
"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"
Song by Al Green featuring Joss Stone from the album Sex and the City: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Released 27 May 2008
Genre R&B, soul
Length 7:00
Label New Line
Producer Salaam Remi
Sex and the City: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack track listing
"Kissing" by Bliss
(11)
"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"
(12)
"Walk This Way" by Run-D.M.C. featuring Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith
(13)

"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" is a song released by the Bee Gees in 1971. It was written mainly by Barry and Robin Gibb. It was the lead and first single on the group's 1971 LP Trafalgar.

Writing and recording[edit]

Barry and Robin Gibb wrote the song in August 1970 with "Lonely Days" when the Gibb brothers had reconvened following a period of break-up and alienation. They originally offered the song to Andy Williams, but ended up recording it themselves. Maurice Gibb possibly had a hand in the writing of "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" although the song is officially credited to Barry and Robin Gibb. The 2009 release "Ultimate Bee Gees" officially credited Maurice for the first time as cowriter of the song, for both the "Ultimate" CD and DVD, and it was credited to the moniker Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb.[1]

The song was recorded on 28 January 1971 in London same day as "We Lost the Road", "When Do I", "If I Were the Sky", "Bring Out the Thoughts in Me" and "Ellan Vannin". The instrumental track is: Barry Gibb (guitar), Maurice Gibb (guitar, piano, bass guitar), possibly Alan Kendall (guitar), and Geoff Bridgeford (drums), with strings and woodwinds arranged and conducted by Bill Shepherd.[1]

Reception[edit]

Although failing to chart on the UK Singles Chart, the song became the Bee Gees' first US number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and also reached number four on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Billboard ranked this as the No. 5 song for 1971.[2] In Spain, this single was released under the title "Cómo Puedes Arreglar Un Corazón Destrozada".[3]

The song was performed for the first time in 1971. That performance is notable for drummer Geoff Bridgford's first appearance with the band.[4] The song was performed as part of a medley in The Midnight Special in 1975. They performed the song in Japan on the Japanese TV special Love Sounds as well as the Mr. Natural tour in 1974. A live version recorded live in 17–18 Nov 1989 at the National Tennis Centre, Melbourne, Australia was used for the benefit album Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal. In 1997-1999, it was performed on the One Night Only tour as part of a medley though, the song was performed completely. The song was last performed by the Bee Gees with Maurice Gibb in 2001. The song is also in the American Hustle movie and on the movie soundtrack.

Personnel[edit]

  • Barry Gibb – lead and harmony vocals, guitar
  • Robin Gibb – lead and harmony vocals
  • Maurice Gibb – bass guitar, guitar, piano, organ
  • Geoff Bridgeford – drums
  • Bill Shepherd – orchestral and strings arrangement

Chart performance[edit]

Charts (1971) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
Canadian RPM Singles Chart 1
Chile Singles Chart 2
Australia ARIA Singles Chart 3
New Zealand RIANZ Charts 6
South Africa Singles Chart 7
Netherlands Dutch Top 40 Charts 16
Belgium Singles Chart 18
Italian FIMI Singles Chart 24

Cover versions[edit]

References[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • Melinda Bilyeu, Hector Cook, and Andrew Môn Hughes, with Joseph Brennan and Mark Crohan. The Ultimate Biography of the Bee Gees. London: Omnibus, 2001.
  • Unpublished list of tape reels, Universal/Polygram, viewed in 2000 by Joseph Brennan.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Bee Gees version)
7-28 August 1971
Succeeded by
"Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" by Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney
Preceded by
"Don't Pull Your Love" by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
Canadian RPM number-one single (Bee Gees version)
28 August - 4 September 1971
Succeeded by
"Sweet Hitch-Hiker" by Creedence Clearwater Revival