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.
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.
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.
Really great production.
Have a great weekend!