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The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

It was impossible to have been a teenager in the 70’s and not have many memories of how the Bee Gees music was EVERYWHERE. I’ve remained a casual fan over the years but was shocked at how little I knew about them and their influence on music as I watched THE BEE GEES: HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART on HBO.

Director Frank Marshall (producer of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future) and his team dive deep into the history of the Brothers Gibb. Sole surviving member Barry Gibb provides a heartfelt, transparent interview that serves as the backbone of the film.

Now 74, Barry narrates the clips from their very early start as teenagers with a dream.

Film records also offer plenty of opportunity for his brothers Robin and Maurice to chime in, often reeling with joy from each success, along with longer-term fatigue from the overwhelming fame and pressure that came with each new achievement.

On the whole, they relish their success and are often surprised by it, especially the HUGE success of their soundtrack contributions for “Saturday Night Fever”.

Eric Clapton, Mark Ronson, Nick Jonas, Justin Timberlake, Alice Cooper, Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand and a cavalcade of stars are seen in current interviews and archival footage detailing the huge impact of the group on modern music.

We also see the impact of the loss of their younger brother Andy and the last seventies when the Bee Gees were pigeonholed as a “Disco” act as that genre fell out of favor, even though they’d been cranking out pop hits since the 60’s!

I would have liked to have seen some mention of their involvement in the horrible film “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and some behind the scenes footage or reflections from Barry on making the film, which landed with a THUD in theatres in 1978.

But that’s nitpicking a really enjoyable documentary. By the time the final notes are sung, you’ll be amazed all over again by the sheer number of hit songs that the Bee Gees wrote or performed. They provide a roadmap for five decades of hits.

Loaded with never-before-seen footage, HOW DO YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART earns an impossibly high note enveloped A. Barry’s recollections of his brothers and observations on aging & survival sing with a sincerity far beyond the music. Hugely enjoyable.

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