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The Righteous Brothers

They weren't brothers, but Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield (both born in 1940) were most definitely righteous, defining (and perhaps even inspiring) the term "blue-eyed soul" in the mid-'60s. The white Southern California duo were an established journeyman doo wop/R&B act before an association with Phil Spector produced one of the most memorable hits of the 1960s, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." The collaboration soon fell apart, though, and while the singers had some other excellent hit singles in a similar style, they proved unable to sustain their momentum after just a year or two at the top.

When Medley and Hatfield combined forces in 1962, they emerged from regional groups the Paramours and the Variations; in fact, they kept the Paramours billing for their first single. By 1963, they were calling themselves the Righteous Brothers, Medley taking the low parts with his smoky baritone, Hatfield taking the higher tenor and falsetto lines. For the next couple of years they did quite a few energetic R&B tunes on the Moonglow label that bore similarity to the gospel/soul/rock style of Ray Charles, copping their greatest success with "Little Latin Lupe Lu," which became a garage-band favorite covered by Mitch Ryder, the Kingsmen, and others.

Even on the Moonglow recordings, Bill Medley acted as producer and principal songwriter, but the duo wouldn't break out nationally until they put themselves at the services of Phil Spector. Spector gave the Wall of Sound treatment to "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," a grandiose ballad penned by himself, Barry Mann, and Cynthia Weil. At nearly four minutes, the song was pushing the limits of what could be played on radio in the mid-'60s, and some listeners thought they were hearing a 45 single played at 33 rpm due to Medley's low, blurry lead vocal. No matter; the song had a power that couldn't be denied, and went all the way to number one.

The Righteous Brothers had three more big hits in 1965 on Spector's Philles label ("Just Once in My Life," "Unchained Melody," and "Ebb Tide"), all employing similar dense orchestral arrangements and swelling vocal crescendos. Yet the Righteous Brothers-Spector partnership wasn't a smooth one, and by 1966 the duo had left Philles for a lucrative deal with Verve. Medley, already an experienced hand in the producer's booth, reclaimed the producer's chair, and the Righteous Brothers had another number one hit with their first Verve outing, "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration." Its success must have been a particularly bitter blow for Spector, given that Medley successfully emulated the Wall of Sound orchestral ambience of the Righteous Brothers' Philles singles down to the smallest detail, even employing the same Mann-Weil writing team that had contributed to "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." It's a bit of a mystery as to why the Righteous Brothers never came close to duplicating that success during the rest of their tenure at Verve. But they would only have a couple of other Top 40 hits in the 1960s ("He" and "Go Ahead and Cry," both in 1966), even with the aid of occasional compositions by the formidable Goffin-King team. In 1968 Medley left for a solo career; Hatfield, the less talented of the pair (at least from a songwriting and production standpoint), kept the Righteous Brothers going with Jimmy Walker (who had been in the Knickerbockers).

Medley had a couple of small hits in the late '60s as a solo act, but unsurprisingly neither "brother" was worth half as much on their own as they were together. In 1974 they reunited and had a number three hit with "Rock and Roll Heaven," a tribute to dead rock stars that some found tacky. A couple of smaller hits followed before Medley retired from performing for five years in 1976. The Righteous Brothers continued to tour the oldies circuit off and on in the 1980s and 1990s. It was while on one of these tours that Bobby Hatfield died suddenly on November 5, 2003. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

nycoqui726
REMINDS ME OF THE MOVIE " GHOST "- RIP. Swayze ♥♥♥♥♥♥
thetopwrench
Back seat make out music
kkmnation
karen marenes a fav
Our song. <3 T n P
One of best song.
sdbolts7601
Unchained Melody Is The Jam OLDIES POR VIDA
taty24ny
Another goosebump song for me.....great harmony and powerful lyrics.
The most recorded song in HISTORY. First heard it in the score for A HORRIBLE MOVIE called UNCHAINED.
Awesome
Love it and it is from ghost
Ghost :'(
These brothers could definitely blow! Love them! Bobby Hatfield RIP while you reside in the Rock n Roll Heaven where you belong. We miss you always!
Oh ! S**t this song is it baby<33333
Brings back memories of my dad R.I.P
BOBBY HATFIELD R I P in Rock and Roll Heaven !!!
Bring back memories from the 80"s at southern california, there will be no other "ERA" like those years, when there was good music. Sorry for you teenagers from these times. ( keep listening to your "CRAP")
panamint
My mother played this song on her piano and sung for the whole neaighborhoo d to here. Such great memories.
unchained melody just makes me cry..... it's such a beautiful song. THANK YOU BOBBY HATFIELD FOR SINGING THIS SONG!!
1.Kiss ur left hand
2.Say ur crushes name
3.Close ur hand
4.Pick a school day
5.Say ur name
6. Post this on fifteen more songs and on the day u picked u will be asked out by ur crush
Classic, the GOOD old days, old school music lover.
just beautiful. I can imagine slow dancing to this song with someone special.
One of the greatest songs ever.
Love it
leilanilouis e
So lovey
What a beautiful song
I love this song!!! Need your love tdm
not many better than the Righteous Brothers
two smooth dudes
Love this song and Love the movie ghost;(
ispepell
Makes me want to watch the movie Ghost!
Great team !
Always enjoy hearing these two. Great! RQ/rlh
Such a smooth but powerful sound!
Firme
Truly one of the greatest rock 'n roll ballads of all time
R.I.P Chamaka :.
I'm going to play Unchained Melody at my wedding which will probably be in 15 years when I'm 30.
One of the greatest songs of all time. Hard core romantic. Thank you Bobby Hatfield, RIP my Riotous Brother.
Great
so sweet!
Beautiful
Nice
billiebear47 8 8
Love to sing along with them!
Sooo good...
unchained melody makes me cry...... and it gives me chills
Great song, great vocals...mem o r i e s
paulfl1
stands the test of time
Fantastic. Song love it.... really
eddiecruz782 6 0
Best R&D duo ever! They could take you to that place. Like soaring on the wings of angels. From tears to pure joy.. God bless you Bobby.
fludderbi
love it
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