The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?
While this comprehensive documentary about the iconic Gibb brothers doesn’t really go too deep into the personal stuff, despite the leading title, it features a wealth of choice archive material, home movies and concert footage.
Utilising interviews with the surviving member Barry that were recorded over three years, as well as archive interviews with Robin and Maurice, the laid-back middle brother who served as a buffer between the fierce fraternal rivals, the film charts the Isle of Man-born Gibbs’ adolescence in Australia and their initial move to London, where they scored major success on both sides of the Atlantic with their second single ‘New York Mining Disaster 1941’. The band maintained a steady supply of hits until the early 70s, followed by a lengthy fallow streak. They found a new impetus when they moved to Miami and recorded R&B-flavoured albums with soul producer Arif Mardin, and Barry began singing in what is now his trademark falsetto. Their career went stratospheric with the all-conquering ‘Saturday Night Fever’ soundtrack, but the band were a major casualty of the disco backlash, and with the hits drying up, reinvented themselves again as (lucrative) songwriters for hire penning hits for Barbara Streisand, Diana Ross, and Dionne Warwick.
The documentary also features various talking head interviews with Noel Gallagher and Nick Jonas who are genuinely insightful about the being in a band with siblings, and a cheeky Justin Timberlake enthusing about their vocals. Chris Martin is in it too. It’s a fascinating and singular tale of career ups and downs, triumphs and, ahem, tragedies, and a welcome reminder of the amount of great songs the band released.
‘The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?’ is screening on Sky Documentaries on 13th December and available on DVD on 14th December