Published on July 15, 2016
“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. The song is also in American Hustle 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.
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. ” 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.”