Friday, September 27, 2013

for whom the bell tolls (at 2:50)

Wanna really listen to a song?

We all have our favorite recording artists and the BeeGees were always fav’s of mine.

But the arranger/producer behind the scenes often goes unrecognized. The boys in the booth make a good song truly great.

So let’s listen to the producer’s hand for a change... behind this classic from 1971, “How can you Mend a Broken Heart?”

This was the BeeGee’s first #1 hit single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.


It opens with a plucked, sliding bass at :06, then Robin’s trademark trembling vibrato, backed by a plain, acoustic guitar and trilling violins.
At :44 listen to how the simple violins and piano introduce the bridge behind their famous birds-on-a-wire vocals beginning about :58.

The sadness builds to crescendo at 1:36, then circles around to the simplicity of the piano and opening vocal again.

There’s a passing 10 second trumpet at 1:46 and you might miss it if you aren’t expecting it.

Listen to Maurice’s bass build “bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum” to repeat the bridge at 2:41. 

A&M Records

And now, the inspired moment in this recording.

That one, solitary tolling bell at 2:50 is a gorgeous choice, the gleam of this production I think. It’s like funereal punctuation to the lyrical point of a “broken man” burying his heart. 
Just lovely.

At 3:09 the la la la reprise…..
Then at 3:23 a solo flute pirouettes through...

at 3:37, a closing harp arpeggio.

Then the strings back away, the piano and guitar fade, that opening bass pluck reprises at 3:46 and then finally falls silent on the same vocal vibrato on which we began.

Good song.
Really great production.


Have a great weekend!

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