On this day in music history: August 7, 1971 -…

On this day in music history: August 7, 1971 – “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” by the Bee Gees hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks. Written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, it is the first US chart topper for the superstar family trio from The Isle Of Man, UK. Following the Bee Gees initial period of worldwide success in 1967 and 1968, the band implodes in 1969 when infighting and excessive drinking causes Robin to abruptly quit for a solo career, with Barry also opting for the same a short time later. After eighteen months apart, they eventually reconcile in the Summer of 1970, making a vow to each other never to part again. Inspiration comes quickly with the brothers writing numerous new songs together. Among them is the ballad “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart”. The track is recorded at IBC Studios in London on January 28, 1971, and is the first single from the bands ninth album “Trafalgar”. Surprisingly, the song fails to chart in the Bee Gees home country of the UK. But with the recent top five success of their comeback smash “Lonely Days” (#3 Pop), “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” is an even bigger hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #73 on June 26, 1971, it rises to the top of the chart six weeks later. The single also earns the Bee Gees their first Grammy nomination for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group with Vocals in 1972. In 2001, a previously unreleased alternate version of the classic song surfaces. This version features different piano and bass tracks, and with Barry singing the first verse instead of Robin. This version appears on first run UK pressings of the hits compilation “Their Greatest Hits: The Record”. This was the result of a filing error in Universal’s tape archive in London, with the wrong master being pulled from the vault. The CD is quickly withdrawn and replaced with the correct version. One the most popular and frequently covered songs by the Bee Gees, the song is also recorded by Al Green, Johnny Mathis, Cher, Teddy Pendergrass, Diana Krall, Rod Stewart, Ruben Studdard, and Michael Buble. Green’s 1971 recording of the song is made over into duet for the soundtrack of the romantic comedy “Notting Hill”, with singer Joss Stone adding her vocals to the track. The Bee Gees original version is also included on the soundtrack to the film “American Hustle” in 2013. “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.