Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: Bee Gees, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?”
43 years ago today, the brothers Gibb – well, three of ‘em, anyway: Barry, Maurice, and Robin – found themselves atop the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in their career, thanks to wistfully asking the question, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?”
Released in advance of their 1971 album, Trafalgar – which would later provide them with an additional minor hit, “Don’t Wanna Live Inside Myself” – “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” was predominantly written by Barry and Robin, although Maurice’s name was eventually added to the credits way, way after the fact. (The first time he received a writing credit for the track was on the 2009 compilation, Ultimate Bee Gees.) The Gibbs had originally offered it to Andy Williams, but they ended up recording it themselves in the end, a decision which they’ve likely never regretted for a moment.
Over the years, “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” has been recorded by many artists, most prominently Al Green (a version which was turned into a duet with Joss Stone for the soundtrack of the first Sex and the City movie), Michael Bublé (with Barry singing backup, no less), and – perhaps most unforgettably – by Florence Henderson on The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. When it comes down to brass tacks, though, we’re still most partial to the original.