My song today is ‘Heartbreaker’. This single record was by American pop and soul singer, Dionne Warwick from her album ‘Heartbreaker’ in 1982. The song was written by Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb of the ‘Bee Gees’, with Barry Gibb's backing vocal being heard on the chorus.
Warwick admitted in ‘The Billboard Book of Number One Adult Contemporary Hits’ by Wesley Hyatt that she was not fond of ‘Heartbreaker’, and regarding the song's international popularity, she quipped, "I cried all the way to the bank, but I recorded it because i trusted the Bee Gees' judgment that it would be a hit”. It turned out to be Warwick's most successful solo hit of the 1980s. The ‘Bee Gees’ recorded a version, with Barry Gibb on lead vocals, which was featured on the album ‘Their Greatest Hits: The Record’, as well as their ‘Love Songs’ album.
Maurice Gibb, who co-wrote the song, commented, "I cried my eyes out after we wrote it. I drove home and thought, ‘we should be doing this one', and when she did it, it was brilliant. We sang on it, and it still became like a duet between the ‘Bee Gees’ and Dionne Warwick".
The song had a most successful outcome and it reached the top of charts around the world and stands as one of Warwick's biggest career hits, selling an estimated 4 million copies worldwide. It made the Top 10 on the US ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart in January 1983. The track was Warwick's eighth Number 1 ‘Adult Contemporary’ hit. It reached Number 14 on the ‘Soul Chart’. In the ‘UK Singles Chart’, the track reached Number 2 for two weeks in November 1982 behind ‘I Don’t Wanna Dance’ by Eddy Grant. It was ranked as Billboard magazine's 80th-biggest US hit of 1983.
Just before Dionne Warwick released this song, my own heart was broken when my first wife (with whom I had fathered two children) indicated that she wanted a divorce. At the time, I thought that there were no other parties involved but later discovered that there was. Protracted and acrimonious divorce proceedings followed, and the mother to my our children ignored the Order of the Matrimonial Court, and for two years, I was prevented by her from seeing, speaking to, or communicating with the two children of our marriage. My heart was broken all over again, and nightly I would cry myself to sleep. There is only so much that any heart can take before the dam of emotional turmoil breaks and a bodily outpouring of anger followed by grief envelops and devours one’s entire existence.
I know not if it is the fragility of the heart which renders this organ liable to be broken or the fragile nature of love itself. If ever any emotion is capable of living or dying in the shifting sands of a changing relationship, it is the ‘love’ between two people who expressed a commitment of lifelong fidelity and oneness to each other, but where one of the parties can no longer maintain that commitment.
As a young man in my late teens, I was ever-ready for a new encounter and a fresh-experience. It was as though I possessed an eagerness to travel into the unknown territory of my next romantic adventure. I was rarely taken by surprise of any fair maiden because I had subconsciously worked out most of my movements in advance. Instead of waiting to see how well my dating relationships naturally developed, because I was determined to remain emotionally unattached to any woman until I had done my planned travelling abroad, I did not need to await the outcome of our brief courtship. The reason was that the outcome was predetermined, and whatever happened, it was I who usually made it happen!
I was in every way a young man brimming with oodles of confidence; a virile young man forever seeking that sensual expectation and experience of ‘falling in love’ again and again with every beautiful young woman I dated. I had all the prospects of an exciting life before me. I was clever, ambitious, adventurous, daring, and I also had the good looks and pleasing personality. All in all, I was a ‘good catch’ in the eyes of any young woman in search of a good man to marry, settle down with, and start a family.
However, serious relationships and marriage could not have been farther from my mind. I was determined not to get married before I had dusted my wanderlust from my heels and had sown all my wild oats in Canada and America. I had planned to travel and live there for a few years when I reached the age of 21 years, and fortunately, a goodly-sized pot of compensation money which I’d been awarded after a childhood traffic accident would make this foreign adventure possible when I was 21 years old.
While never once taking physical advantage of any young woman I dated by encouraging her to do anything she did not want to do, I must admit in retrospect, that I displayed the passion of a gambler who was prepared to take my current romantic adventure to the edge of the moral abyss instead of that of a considerate lover. It was as though something inside me appeared to make me seek out the maximum expectation of my romantic adventure without being prepared to delve too deeply into the full emotional consequences of my action. I was a young man who wanted a life of romance, filled with as much dancing and fun as it offered. I dated and moved on from one young woman to another with indecent regularity after a month or so before I became emotionally attached and committed to her.
I can now see that my own unthinking and unbridled passion incited within me a desire to attract and captivate, regardless of any emotional hurt I may have left behind. None of my behaviour was ever consciously intended to create hurt, but the carefree and less considerate way that it was carried out made me directly responsible for the emotional consequences. I erroneously believed at the time that if I remained above board and completely open regarding my intentions and expectations whenever dating a new girl (of wanting a fun and pleasurable relationship, but not an emotionally serious one that might lead to marriage), then if there was any hurt when our relationship ended, I could not be held responsible for having created it.
I now see that some hurt or emotional disappointment was an unavoidable consequence of the many relationships I formed and briefly entered. The young woman may have acknowledged the essence of our stated agreement at the start of our relationship, but had probably thought it through, and remained wholly aware of the emotional consequences of the underwritten ‘small print’ which she had merely glanced over. Whereas, I loved the experience of ‘falling in love’, without ever wanting to ‘stay in love’, I would deliberately ‘fall out of love’ after a short while so that I would be free to ‘fall in love’ all over again with another young woman. She, on the other hand, might find herself ‘falling in love’ with me, and consequently feeling hurt or heartbroken when I ended the relationship and started dating another young woman.
In my adult life as a Probation Officer, Group Worker, Counsellor, I would often work with many men and women who’d had their hearts broken through unrequited love. Even after I retired, I have frequently heard of so many people on the social media platform of Facebook who has also been left heartbroken because of the ending of a relationship in which they placed all their hopes, trust, and sometimes all their money and financial security, before their ‘love cheat’ ran out on them. I have even heard them say, “Although the money represented all my life savings, what really hurt was that he/she fooled me into thinking that they cared for me, and I invested all my emotional commitment and love in expectation of a happy future together. He/she took everything from me and left me with nothing except a broken heart!”
Perhaps there is a Karma in one's life which makes the well-known saying, “What goes ‘round comes around” ring true for each of us. I am now old enough and emotionally objective enough to hold a more balanced view upon my past actions as a young man. I accept from my own experience that I have done much good in my life and have received a greater amount of good in return, but perhaps the opposite is also true? Perhaps, having been a ‘heartbreaker’ on too many occasions as a young man in my romantic and carefree late teens, bad Karma came back to bite me on the bum when my first marriage failed twenty years later when my wife called ‘time’ on our relationship and left me stranded with a broken heart that remained emotionally fractured and fragile for a number of years thereafter?
As the character Hamlet says in William Shakespeare’s play of the same name, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” I wonder if Hamlet also believed in the concept of Karma?
Love and peace Bill xxx