Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-The Righteous Brothers
Album: 20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection: The Best Of The Righteous Brothers
Blue Eyed Soul is soul or R & B performed by whites. That's what Elvis Presley was supposed to be. In the 60s, The Righteous Brothers defined Blue Eyed Soul and of course they had most of their success working with producer Phil Spector. The soulful bass of Bill Medley (born Sept. 19, 1940 in Los Angeles) and the tenor of Bobby Hatfield (born Aug. 10, 1940 in Beaver Dam, WI and grew up in Anaheim) first came together in 1962 as members of The Paramours. They met while attending California State University, Long Beach. While they were performing as The Paramours, someone from the audience yelled that they sounded "righteous". Hence the name The Righteous Brothers. They released a couple of albums on the small Moonglow label and had a minor hit with Little Latin Lupe Lu in 1963. But then they signed with Phil Spector's Philles label and You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling topped the charts. Follow up singles didn't do that well until Unchained Melody reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1965. Obviously it's a solo performance by Hatfield. You won't even see Medley in the video clip. Unchained Melody was written for the 1955 prison film Unchained by veteran composer Alex North (A Streetcar Named Desire) and Tin Pan Alley lyricist Hy Zaret. Unchained was Warner Bros.' attempt to turn football star Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch into a movie star. Though the film was soon forgotten, the song was nominated for an Oscar and Les Baxter, Al Hibbler and Roy Hamilton all had top ten hits with Unchained Melody. Black opera singer Todd Duncan sang it in the film. But obviously The Righteous Brothers version is the most memorable especially after it was used in a key scene in the 1990 film Ghost. The Righteous Brothers didn't get along with Spector so he sold their contract to MGM Records. Their #1 hit Soul & Inspiration was produced by Medley. The duo split up in 1967 and took on different partners. They did reunite in 1974 and had a top five hit with Rock 'N' Roll Heaven. Bobby Hatfield never had much success as a solo artist. The duo reunited occasionally and Hatfield died of a cocaine overdose Nov. 5, 2003 at age 63 before a show in Kalamazoo, MI. Bill Medley has had solo success especially with songs from the 1987 film Dirty Dancing. Today he performs at his own theatre in Branson, MO. Because it was on a different label, a lot of Righteous Brothers comps don't have Rock "N' Roll Heaven. This Universal budget comp contains that song and that's why I recommend it. Here's The Righteous Brothers performing Unchained Melody on Shindig 1965.
Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody
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