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 28 May 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)

"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. The B-side, a Maurice Gibb composition "Country Woman". It was their first US No. 1 single. The song also reached #1 in Cashbox magazine in two weeks.[1] The song is also in the American Hustle movie and on its soundtrack.

In the US, Atco Records issued both mono and stereo versions of the song on each side as a promo single.[2]

Writing and recording[edit]

An excerpt from the first chorus

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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. "Robin came to my place" says Barry, "and that afternoon we wrote 'How Can You Mend a Broken Heart' and that obviously was a link to us coming back together. We called Maurice, finished the song, went to the studio and once again, with only 'Broken Heart' as a basic structure, we went in to the studio with that and an idea for 'Lonely Days', and those two songs were recorded that night". They originally offered the song to Andy Williams, but ended up recording it themselves. Barry also explains, "We might imitate a certain group, later on, the group will pick up on the song and say that suits us."[3] 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.[4]

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".[4] The group's later song "My World" followed along the same musical ideas on this song.[3] Robin Gibb's remarked on the song, "The whole thing took about an hour to complete. The song reached the number one spot, to our great satisfaction."[5]

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.[6] In Spain, this single was released under the title "Cómo Puedes Arreglar Un Corazón Destrozada".[7] The song was performed for the first time in 1971. That performance is notable for drummer Geoff Bridgford's first appearance with the band.[8]

Following the release of "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart", the song had a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus among George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" and others.[3] 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.

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

"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)
1970s
1990s
2000s
2010s
  • 2014: Eef Barzelay recorded a version for a fundraising CD titled More Super Hits Of The Seventies for freeform radio station WFMU.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cashbox Top Singles - 1971". Cashbox Archives. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "The Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". 45cat. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Hughes, Andrew. The Bee Gees - Tales of the Brothers Gibb. Retrieved 25 January 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1971". Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  5. ^ Janovitz, Bill. "Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  6. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1971
  7. ^ How Can You Mend a Broken Heart at Discogs
  8. ^ "Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (Live 1971)". YouTube. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "Go-Set Australian Charts". poparchives.com. 11 September 1971. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "Billboard: Hits of the World". Billboard. 18 September 1971. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". ultratop.be. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c d e "Songs Written by the Gibb Family on the International Charts - Part 2" (PDF). brothersgibb.org. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". dutchcharts.com. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Songs from the year 1971". tsort.info. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  15. ^ a b "Bee Gees Top Songs Discography". musicvf.com. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "Cash Box Top 100". Cashbox Archives. 21 August 1971. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "Go-Set Australian Charts". Pop Archives. 30 October 1971. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "Johnny Mathis - You've Got a Friend". Discogs. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  19. ^ "Al Green - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". Discogs. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  20. ^ "Al Green on Sex and the City". Demon Music Group. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2008. 
  21. ^ "Joss Stone - Al Green - How Can You Mend A BrokenHeart". YouTube. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  22. ^ "Cher - Half-Breed". Discogs. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  23. ^ "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour - Soundtrack". IMDb. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  24. ^ "Teddy Pendergrass - Truly Blessed". Discogs. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  25. ^ "Michael Buble - Michael Buble". Discogs. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 
  26. ^ "Entertainment | Album success for X Factor winner". BBC News. 2005-05-15. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  27. ^ "New Barry Manilow Album, THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE SEVENTIES, Arrives in Stores September 18th on Arista Records", PRNewswire, 10 July 2007.
  28. ^ "Diana Krall - Quiet Nights". Discogs. Retrieved 26 January 2015. 

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
7-28 August 1971
Succeeded by
"Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" by Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney
Preceded by
"You've Got a Friend" by James Taylor
Cash Box Top 100 number-one single
14-28 August 1971
Succeeded by
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver
Preceded by
"Don't Pull Your Love" by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
Canadian RPM number-one single
28 August - 4 September 1971
Succeeded by
"Sweet Hitch-Hiker" by Creedence Clearwater Revival