How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, by the Bee Gees
If I may be permitted to quibble, this particular soundtrack for a 2020 documentary of the Bee Gees focuses (perhaps understandably) on the first and particularly the second acts of the Bee Gees’ immensely accomplished and prolific career. The fact that as a patron saint of unpopular causes I tend to prefer the post-disco career of the Bee Gees because it is the only era of theirs I actually remember cheering on in person means that this soundtrack does not fit my tastes. Yet I don’t think this soundtrack was made for someone like me, and even as someone like me who prefers the more obscure and neglected part of the group’s body of work, there is really nothing to fault here. Those who were fans of the Bee Gees during their initial period of popularity from the mid 60’s to mid 70’s will find much to enjoy here, even if they might want to hear more obscure album tracks from those years. Obviously, those who are most fond of the Bee Gees’ songs during their heyday will find the most to appreciate here, and those who like the post-disco career of the Bee Gees will find the least according to their tastes.
It must be candidly admitted, though, that this album is enjoyable to listen to at 25 songs. In fact, I am strongly convinced that just about any twenty-five songs from the Bee Gees would be enjoyable to listen to. If I was trying to come up with a sensible and balanced retrospective of the career of the group I would certainly pick a different set of songs than this album has–I would certainly be far closer to The Record than this album in terms of my setlist than this album, but this album provides 25 songs from the Bee Gees, and some of them are somewhat obscure and underappreciated, and that is more than enough to make this a worthwhile collection, in the sense that any collection of songs by the Bee Gees is going to be a good one.
So, which 25 songs of the many Bee Gees compositions does one find here? The album begins with “Staying Alive” and then moves on to a selection of hits from the first part of the Bee Gees’ career (“How Can You Mend A Broken Heart,” “Spicks And Specks,” “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” “To Love Somebody,” “I Started A Joke,” “Massachusetts,” and “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You”). Nothing can be faulted about these choices. Most of the rest of the tracklist consists of songs from the 1975-1979 peak popularity of the group (“Wind Of Change,” “Jive Talkin’,” “Nights On Broadway,” “Fanny (Be Tender With My Love),” “You Should Be Dancing (Full Version),” “Love So Right,” “Children Of The World,” “Night Fever,” “More Than A Woman,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Tragedy,” “Too Much Heaven,” and “Love You Inside Out”). Even if some of these songs are a bit overplayed, these are all great songs too. The album then closes with exactly one song from the post-disco Bee Gees, the gorgeous “For Whom The Bell Tolls” from Size Isn’t Everything, and then some more tracks from the earlier periods of the Bee Gees in “Holiday,” “Run To Me,” and the aching “Words.” As might be well-imagined, these are 25 solid tracks for a worthwhile retrospective.