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"
ReleasedJune 1971
Format7", 45 rpm
Recorded28 January 1971
IBC Studios, London
GenreSoft rock
Length3:57
LabelPolydor
Atco (United States, Canada)
Writer(s)Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
ProducerRobert 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
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"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"
Single by Bee Gees
from the album Trafalgar
B-side"Country Woman"
ReleasedJune 1971
Format7", 45 rpm
Recorded28 January 1971
IBC Studios, London
GenreSoft rock
Length3:57
LabelPolydor
Atco (United States, Canada)
Writer(s)Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
ProducerRobert 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
Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.
"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"
Song by Al Green from the album Let's Stay Together
Released1972
GenreR&B, soul
Length6:22
LabelHi
ProducerWillie 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
Released27 May 2008
GenreR&B, soul
Length7:00
LabelNew Line
ProducerSalaam 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 by Barry and Robin Gibb in August 1970, during the same time as they wrote "Lonely Days".

Background and recording[edit]

Barry and Robin Gibb wrote the song in August 1970, 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, including it on their 1971 album, Trafalgar. The line in the chorus What makes the world go 'round? is a repeat of a line heard in "Man For All Seasons" on their previous album, 2 Years On.

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. The vocals are by Robin (solo in the opening verse), Barry (solo in choruses and second verse), and Maurice (joins Barry and Robin in harmony on choruses). It was released as a single in May 1971 ahead of the album.[1]

Release and aftermath[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. Maurice 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. In Spain, this single was released under the title "Cómo Puedes Arreglar Un Corazón Destrozada".[2]

An alternative version appeared on the first UK pressing of the 2001 compilation Their Greatest Hits: The Record. It has different vocal, piano, and bass guitar tracks. It is very noticeable that Barry, not Robin, sings the first verse, and that Barry's sigh does not appear before each chorus. This was a tape library mistake, both this and the correct reel being marked as best. The differences illustrate how the Bee Gees built up a recording track by track. These unsatisfactory vocal, piano, and bass tracks would be re-done to make the officially released version.[citation needed]

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. The song has been referenced twice in the popular TV sitcom Two and a Half Men. In one episode, Charlie played the song on his piano; in another, when Alan says the title out of context in conversation, Charlie chimes in by singing the following line ("How can you stop the rain from falling down"). It is a theme in the Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts film Notting Hill.

Personnel[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Charts (1971)Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 1001
Canadian RPM Singles Chart1
Chile Singles Chart2
Australia ARIA Singles Chart3
New Zealand RIANZ Charts6
South Africa Singles Chart7
Netherlands Dutch Top 40 Charts16
Belgium Singles Chart18
Italian FIMI Singles Chart24

Cover versions[edit]

Ana Gazzola's Portuguese language version features Laurence Juber (Wings) on guitar.

References[edit]

Literature[edit]

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