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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

gaesparza5
My sister like it but is old becase the face and i remember this song went i was little now im 8 i was 6 year old
Amazing song.

.
love them......Ka t h e r i n e Sophia...... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
What a song, love it!
Guys Bobby is my grandpa!!
suekaloustia n
Hearing this song as a kid, I felt it was the most sophisticate d , deeply romantic, soulful ballad ever - - 50 years later it still is!
coachwilliam h e w i t t
A special song for a special teacher at Gowana Jr. High
First time I heard this was March 1969 on a bus headed to an induction center in Detroit. Stopped at a drugstore for a break and they had the album on sale. Immediately grabbed it, wrapped it using a paper bag and sent it off to my girlfriend. One year in Viet Nam, back in the States for a week and we got married March 21, 1970.Still married to my sweetie 44 years later! I still get a kiss when we hear that song! Thanks Righteous Brothers!
my first song i dance slow
Great timeless song
I cant believe that this song is as old as it is and was played at my School dances in the 90's!! Remember that like it was yesterday!!
Mio ... Solo Mio, NAVOS ��
My favoriest song of all times!
Ghost ..I'll go to sleep with this now ,,,,,,
LOVE THIS SONG!!!!!!!!
Ghost
Why can't people in music sing like these guys ,
One of my pure favorite groups this music they did I wish everybody could listen to it all they did
Nope !!!!! I want t groooove .....
Did I lose that loving feeling? Musically that is, for this great song. I just heard Unchained Melody for the first time in well over thirty years. The music, vocals for the 60's and 70's era were unmatched. As I quietly and intently soaked in their penetrating sounds on a cloudy and rainy day, I actually got the CHILLS. Pleasant thoughtful memories that were subdued, escaped like they got A Free Get Out Of Jail Card. These two were great together!
nicko252008
Man what great music...Chec k out the Reunion cover they could pass for Siegfried and Roy!
shannamajor5 1 7
I'm only 38 but can appreciate TRUE talent. Even music that was before my mom's time.lol. Sends chills thru body. AMAZING!
Love this song...
wmims7
The first Unchained Melody was by Al Hibbler in the 1950s
great song i love it and dirty dancing.i could watch that movie again again.
dogfish_77
I get goose bumps every time I hear them! What a dynamic Duo!
Takes me back to hurrying home from school to watch American Bandstand. Couldn't wait for "Rate a Record ". The most used phrase was "It has a good beat and easy to dance to ".
why couldnt this music go on forever.
Let's just dance
Ghost is a third-rate movie. However this is a first-rate song!
backstabbers - how true thanks ojays
Tthe best usic to clean house ,
What a privilege to grow up with this great music on the air waves!
curtis9457
great song
awesome song remind me of the movie ghost
Love it!
They were great in Vegas before bobby died
My wedding song
The KINGS of Blue Eyed Soul! The Rightous Bro's
Love the music
my baby !!
rest in peace Patrick swayze
Love it...anybody rember GHOST?
ggidnoggy
This song
Has memories .❤
A song that feeds the soul
A song that feeds the soul ,
The righteous brothers the pride of Orange County
Wow, what an obvisiouly one sided review. Hatfield carried the Bros. for years with voice.
I love them!
will ferrel's father was their drummer!
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