“The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” is the history of the Gibb Brothers and their incredible successes through the ’60s and ’70’s (and somewhat into the ’80’s) as told by last-surviving brother, Barry Gibb, along with other notable participants. From their beginnings in Australia, where the family had come from England; to their return to the U.K. and immediately conquered the pop music charts (both there and world-wide), starting in 1967, a break-up, reunion and another phase that saw them take control of the music world through the mid-’70’s and the backlash/fall from grace, it’s not always a happy or pleasant story. But it’s as complete as time possibly allows.
If you don’t know the story of Barry and his twin brothers, Maurice and Robin (plus the side story of their youngest brother, Andy, and his rise to chart dominance), this is as complete a picture you can hope for. It spans their tale from the ’60’s to the end – after the deaths of Andy, Maurice and Robin. Performers such as Noel Gallagher (who gives a perfect perspective on what it’s like to be in a successful musical situation with family), Justin Timberlake and Eric Clapton share their views on what made The Bee Gees special and the use of archival film, along with the music, makes this a very good education on such a monumental group. Plus, having original guitarist Vince Melouney (who left amicably in 1968) as part of this was very powerful.
My one criticism, however, is that it omits a few pivotal moments in their history – it goes from the success of the band in 1967 and then glosses over what broke them up between 1968 and 1970, which is an important element to their story; it never brings up why drummer Colin Peterson was let go and it completely overlooks the disastrous 1978 film “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, which became an albatross for both The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton. In that respect, the VH-1 “Behind The Music” was a bit more in-depth. But again, this is a good primer.
Currently airing on HBO, this is a documentary you really shouldn’t overlook or miss.
“The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?” is currently showing on HBO (and available on HBO On Demand and HBO Max streaming services)