How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
|"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"|
|Single by Bee Gees|
|from the album Trafalgar|
|Released||28 May 1971|
|Format||7", 45 rpm|
28 January 1971|
IBC Studios, London
Atco (United States, Canada)
|Songwriter(s)||Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb|
|Producer(s)||Robert Stigwood, Bee Gees|
|Bee Gees singles chronology|
"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 and was the lead and first single on the group's 1971 album Trafalgar. It was their first US No. 1 single and also reached No. 1 in Cashbox magazine for two weeks.
The song appears in the 2013 film American Hustle and on its soundtrack.
Writing and recording
An excerpt from the first chorus
Problems playing this file? See media help.
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, although Williams himself covered the song on his album You've Got a Friend. Barry also explains, "We might imitate a certain group, later on, the group will pick up on the song and say that suits us." 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 co-writer of the song, for both the "Ultimate" CD and DVD, and it was credited to the moniker Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb.
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 group's later song "My World" followed along the same musical ideas on this song. 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."
The song was sung live for the first time in 1971, in a performance that was notable as drummer Geoff Bridgford's first appearance with the band. 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 it as the No. 5 song for 1971. In Spain, it was released under the title "Cómo Puedes Arreglar Un Corazón Destrozada".
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. It was performed as part of a medley on The Midnight Special on October 10, 1975, in Japan on the Japanese TV special Love Sounds, and on the Mr. Natural tour in 1974. A live version recorded on 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, the song was performed on the One Night Only tour as part of a medley. It was last performed by the Bee Gees in 2001.
- Barry Gibb – lead and harmony vocals, acoustic guitar
- Robin Gibb – lead and harmony vocals
- Maurice Gibb – harmony vocals, bass guitar, piano, acoustic guitar, organ
- Geoff Bridgeford – drums
- Bill Shepherd – orchestral and strings arrangement
- 1971: Johnny Mathis recorded a version of this song on his LP You've Got a Friend.
- 1972: Al Green covered the track on his album Let's Stay Together, which also made the soundtrack to 1997's Good Will Hunting, 1999's The Virgin Suicides, 1999's Notting Hill and 2010's The Book of Eli. Green's version was released as a single in France on Cream Records. In 2008, Green's version was remade into a duet with Joss Stone for the soundtrack to the film adaptation of Sex and the City, with her vocals overdubbed onto the track.
- 1973: Singer-actress Cher covered the song in her 1973 album Half-Breed.
- 1977: Florence Henderson performed the song during a medley on an episode of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour.
- 2003: Michael Bublé recorded this song, with Barry Gibb performing backup vocals, on his self-titled album. Bublé's version reached number twenty-two on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. It was Buble's first single.
- 2003: American Idol's second winner Ruben Studdard covered the song on his debut album Soulful.
- 2005: Steve Brookstein recorded it on his number-one album Heart and Soul.
- 2007: Barry Manilow's version appears on his album The Greatest Songs of the Seventies.
- 2009: Jazz singer-pianist Diana Krall covered this song on her album Quiet Nights.
- 2009: Rod Stewart recorded a version for his album Soulbook, though it was left off the final track listing.
- 2014: Eef Barzelay recorded a version for a fundraising CD titled More Super Hits Of The Seventies for freeform radio station WFMU.
- "Cashbox Top Singles - 1971". Cashbox Archives. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "The Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". 45cat. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- Hughes, Andrew. The Bee Gees - Tales of the Brothers Gibb. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- Brennan, Joseph. "Gibb Songs: 1971". Retrieved 13 January 2014.
- Janovitz, Bill. "Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (Live 1971)". YouTube. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
- Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1971
- How Can You Mend a Broken Heart at Discogs
- "Go-Set Australian Charts". poparchives.com. 11 September 1971. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Billboard: Hits of the World". Billboard. 18 September 1971. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". ultratop.be. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Songs Written by the Gibb Family on the International Charts - Part 2" (PDF). brothersgibb.org. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". dutchcharts.com. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Songs from the year 1971". tsort.info. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Bee Gees Top Songs Discography". musicvf.com. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Cash Box Top 100". Cashbox Archives. 21 August 1971. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Go-Set Australian Charts". Pop Archives. 30 October 1971. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Johnny Mathis - You've Got a Friend". Discogs. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Al Green - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". Discogs. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Al Green on Sex and the City". Demon Music Group. 14 May 2008. Archived from the original on 12 July 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2008.
- "Joss Stone - Al Green - How Can You Mend A BrokenHeart". YouTube. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Cher - Half-Breed". Discogs. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour - Soundtrack". IMDb. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Teddy Pendergrass - Truly Blessed". Discogs. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Michael Buble - Michael Buble". Discogs. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- "Entertainment | Album success for X Factor winner". BBC News. 2005-05-15. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
- "New Barry Manilow Album, THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE SEVENTIES, Arrives in Stores September 18th on Arista Records" Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine., PRNewswire, 10 July 2007.
- "Diana Krall - Quiet Nights". Discogs. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
- 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.