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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
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Stations Featuring
The Righteous Brothers

    Top 44 Love Songs

    Top 44 Love Songs
    1 song

    '60s Oldies

    '60s Oldies
    4 songs

    Oldies Hits

    Oldies Hits
    5 songs

    Oldies Party

    Oldies Party
    5 songs

    Classic Love Songs

    2 songs

    Love Songs

    3 songs

    Wedding Songs

    1 song

    Movie Tracks

    1 song

    Classic Hits

    2 songs

    Movie Scores

    1 song

Albums by
The Righteous Brothers

Top Songs by
The Righteous Brothers

  1.   Song
  2.   Unchained Melody
  3.   (You're My) Soul and Inspiration
  4.   You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
  5.   Rock and Roll Heaven
  6.   Ebb Tide
  7.   Just Once in My Life
  8.   Little Latin Lupe Lu
  9.   He
  10.   Unchained Melody
  11.   See That Girl
  12.   Never Walk Alone
  13.   There's a Woman
  14.   Soul City
  15.   For Your Love
  16.   Georgia on My Mind
  17.   You 'Ve Lost That Lovin' Fellin'
  18.   The White Cliffs of Dover
  19.   We Gotta Get out of This Place
  20.   At My Front Door
  21.   Hung on You
  22.   My Prayer
  23.   Sick and Tired
  24.   Go Ahead and Cry
  25.   On This Side of Goodbye
  26.   Summertime
  27.   Old Time Rock n Roll
  28.   The Angels Listened In
  29.   Over and Over
  30.   Turn on Your Lovelight
  31.   He Will Break Your Heart
  32.   Burn on Love by Jackie DeShannon
  33.   Night Owl
  34.   I Still Love You
  35.   Something's Got a Hold of Me
  36.   Baby, What You Want Me to Do
  37.   B-Flat Blues
  38.   Let the Good Times Roll
  39.   Melancholy Music Man
  40.   Justine
  41.   Bring Your Love to Me
  42.   I Just Want to Make Love to You
  43.   Try to Find Another Man
  44.   Brown Eyed Woman
  45.   This Little Girl of Mine
  46.   Koko Joe
  47.   My Babe
  48.   Stranded in the Middle of Noplace
  49.   Guess Who
  50.   My Tears Will Go Away
  51.   Love or Magic
  52.   Fannie Mae
  53.   You Can Have Her
  54.   Melodia Desencadenada
  55.   Old Man River
  56.   Ko Ko Mo
  57.   Look at Me
  58.   Soul Man
  59.   Something's Got a Hold on Me
  60.   American Rock and Roll
  61.   Cryin' Blues
  62.   Fee-Fi-Fidily-I-O
  63.   Bye Bye Love
  64.   In That Great Gettin' up Morning
  65.   I'm So Lonely

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