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How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

"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.[1]

"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"
The Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?.jpg
Single by Bee Gees
from the album Trafalgar
B-side"Country Woman"
Released28 May 1971
Format7", 45 rpm
Recorded28 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
"Lonely Days"
"How Can You Mend a Broken Heart"
"Don't Wanna Live Inside Myself"

In the US Atco Records issued both mono and stereo versions of the song on each side as a promo single.[2] The B-side was a Maurice Gibb composition "Country Woman".

The song appears in the 2013 film American Hustle and on its soundtrack.

Writing and recordingEdit

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."[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 co-writer 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, the 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]


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.[6] 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 Destrozado".[7]

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



Other versionsEdit

  • 2014: Eef Barzelay recorded a version for a fundraising CD titled More Super Hits Of The Seventies for freeform radio station WFMU.


  1. ^ "Cashbox Top Singles - 1971". Cashbox Archives. Archived from the original on 30 October 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  2. ^ "The Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". 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. ^ "Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (Live 1971)". YouTube. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  7. ^ "The Bee Gees* - How Can You Mend A Broken Heart = Cómo Puedes Arreglar Un Corazón Destrozado". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  8. ^ "Go-Set Australian Charts". 11 September 1971. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Billboard: Hits of the World". Billboard. 18 September 1971. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Songs Written by the Gibb Family on the International Charts - Part 2" (PDF). Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 7 August 1971. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  13. ^ a b "Bee Gees - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  14. ^ "Songs from the year 1971". Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Bee Gees Top Songs Discography". Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  16. ^ "Cash Box Top 100". Cashbox Archives. 21 August 1971. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  17. ^ "Go-Set Australian Charts". Pop Archives. 30 October 1971. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  18. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada".
  19. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1971/Top 100 Songs of 1971". Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  20. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (25 December 1971). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 15. Retrieved 31 May 2019 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 25, 1971".
  22. ^ "Johnny Mathis - You've Got a Friend". Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  23. ^ "Al Green - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart". Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ "Joss Stone - Al Green - How Can You Mend A BrokenHeart". YouTube. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  26. ^ "Cher - Half-Breed". Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  27. ^ "The Brady Bunch Variety Hour - Soundtrack". Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  28. ^ "Teddy Pendergrass - Truly Blessed". Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  29. ^ "Michael Buble - Michael Buble". Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  30. ^ "Entertainment | Album success for X Factor winner". BBC News. 15 May 2005. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  31. ^ "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.
  32. ^ "Diana Krall - Quiet Nights". 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.

External linksEdit