Category: The Righteous Brothers

On this day in music history: July 12, 1965 – …

On this day in music history: July 12, 1965 – “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers is released. Written by Hy Zaret and Alex North, it is the eleventh single release for the pop/blue eyed soul vocal duo from Los Angeles, CA. Written in 1955 by lyricist Hy Zaret and film score composer Alex North (“A Streetcar Named Desire”, “The Rainmaker”, “Spartacus”) for the prison drama “Unchained”, the original version of “Unchained Melody” is sung by Todd Duncan in the film. It becomes an instant hit, through numerous cover versions cut after “Unchained” is released. Les Baxter, Al Hibbler and Roy Hamilton all score major hits with their renditions in 1955. Fast forward a decade later, The Righteous Brothers  are in the middle of a major hit streak, begun that February when “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” hits number one. While working the follow up album, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield agree to record “Unchained Melody” for the new record. In spite of singing together as a duo, they mutually agree to record one solo vocal each per album. They flip a coin to decide who will sing it with Hatfield winning the coin toss. Using Roy Hamilton’s epic version as the template for theirs, the track is recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, CA, with members of The Wrecking Crew on March 2, 1965. Though producer Phil Spector is co-credited on the released record, “Melody” is produced by Bill Medley alone. “Unchained Melody” is initially released as the B-side of “Hung On You”, written by Spector, Carole King and Gerry Goffin. DJ’s response to “Hung On You” is lukewarm and the song stalls at #47 on the Hot 100. Flipping the single, radio begins playing “Unchained Melody” instead and rockets up charts. Entering the Hot 100 at #72 July 17, 1965, it peaks at #4 on August 28, 1965. An instant classic, it becomes one The Righteous Brothers most popular songs. “Unchained Melody” becomes a surprise hit again, twenty five years after its original release when it is prominently featured in the box office smash “Ghost” in 1990. Verve Records re-releases the original version due to overwhelming popular demand, but only as a 7" vinyl single in the US, in an effort to encourage to fans to purchase a newly compiled Greatest Hits package released on CD. In the wake of the songs sudden resurgence in popularity, The Righteous Brothers release a newly re-recorded version of “Unchained Melody” on Curb Records. Filling the gap left by Verve not releasing a cassette or CD single of the original recording, the Curb version competes with the original, with the cover peaking at #19 on the Hot 100, turning Platinum and receiving a Grammy nomination in 1991. In spite of the original recording not being made widely available as a single, it still wins the chart race, peaking at #13 on the Hot 100 on October 20, 1990. The Righteous Brothers’ 1965 recording of “Unchained Melody” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2000.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

The Righteous Brothers photographed by Gen…

The Righteous Brothers photographed by

Gene Trindl, Febuary 1965.

On this day in music history: April 9, 1966 …

On this day in music history: April 9, 1966 – “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration” by The Righteous Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, it is the second (and final) chart topping single for the Los Angeles, CA based pop vocal duo. By late 1965, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield are having personal and creative differences with producer Phil Spector and are looking to leave Philles Records. The tension comes to a head between them after Spector begins recording only pop standards on the duo after radio programmers and fans prefer their cover of “Unchained Melody” (#4 Pop), the B-side of the single “Hung On You” (#47 Pop), after Spector is displeased that the older song is favored over the new one. Unhappy at the prospect of being “pigeonholed” musically, Medley and Hatfield ask for their release from Philles. Spector is willing to let them go, but at a price. MGM Records’ Verve label buys them out of their contract with Spector for one million dollars. For their first release, Medley calls on Mann and Weil who had also written “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”. Recorded at United Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA with members of The Wrecking Crew backing the brothers, and Medley producing, the single is an immediate smash upon its release February of 1966. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on March 5, 1966, it races to the top of the chart five weeks later. Even after the chart topping status of “Soul And Inspiration”, The Righteous Brothers see a major down turn in their chart fortunes. After two more top forty singles on Verve, they do not have another top ten hit in the US until 1974 with “Rock And Roll Heaven” (#3 Pop), released on Capitol Records’ Haven subsidiary. “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

When Phil Spector and his wife Ronnie Spector …

When Phil Spector and his wife Ronnie Spector adopted their son Donté

in 1969,

Phil tried to pass him off as their biological child. He wrote an actual theatrical script breakdown for Ronnie to manage the unveiling of their new child. Two years later, Phil gave Ronnie a set of adopted twins for Christmas. Just a few months after that, she escaped. Ronnie

had been tormented by Phil and kept prisoner in his mansion throughout their marriage. The day after their wedding in 1968 he surrounded the estate with a barbed-wire fence. Bars went on the windows next, and monitoring intercoms were installed in all the rooms. Then a set of 10-foot electrified gates went up. He would hide her shoes so she couldn’t leave on her own. On the rare occasions she was permitted to leave Phil made her drive with a life-size blow-up doll of himself. He frequently pulled a gun on her and installed a gold coffin with a glass top in the basement, promising that he would kill her if she tried to leave him. She escaped barefoot with the help of her mother in 1972. 

In 2009, Phil was sentenced to 19 years to life for shooting actress Lana Clarkson to death at his home in 2003.

On this day in music history: November 5, 1965…

On this day in music history: November 5, 1965 – “Ebb Tide” by The Righteous Brothers is released. Written by Carl Sigman and Robert Maxwell, it is the fourteenth single release for the pop vocal duo from Los Angeles, CA. Unhappy that radio DJ’s and the public favor The Righteous Brothers cover of the pop standard “Unchained Melody”, over the originally intended A-side “Hung On You”, producer Phil Spector decides to give fans more of what they want. Spector makes the decision to from then on, only record standards on the blue eyed soul duo, rather than more contemporary material. For their next single, the producer chooses another pop standard, this time it is “Ebb Tide”. Written by songwriters Carl Sigman and Robert Maxwell, the duo (individually) have written numerous other classics, including “Til”, “What Now My Love?”, “Shangri-La” and “It’s All In The Game”. “Ebb Tide” is recorded by numerous artists with versions by Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone, Roy Hamilton, The Platters, and Lenny Welch. The Righteous Brothers version is recorded at United Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA in September of 1965. As usual, the track features members of The Wrecking Crew, accompanied by an orchestra, and arranged by Perry Botkin, Jr.. Like “Unchained Melody” before, “Ebb Tide” is sung solo by Bobby Hatfield, who had performed the song previously with his first group The Variations. With his soaring tenor voice front and center, it is obvious that The Righteous Brothers version is a sure fire hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #41 on December 4, 1965, it races up the chart, peaking at #5 five weeks later on January 8, 1966. Though “Ebb Tide” is another smash for The Righteous Brothers, it also marks the end of their working relationship with Phil Spector. The opportunity to break with the producer comes when Verve Records offers to buy Medley and Hatfield out of their contract with Philles Records for $1,000,000. Spector agrees to the deal The Righteous Brothers move on, scoring their second chart topper with “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration” in April of 1966. Philles releases one final Righteous Brothers single, a cover of “White Cliffs Of Dover” in September of 1966, recorded shortly before the duo leave their former label. The Righteous Brothers version of “Ebb Tide” remains one of their most popular and enduring hits, with Bobby Hatfield performing it for enthusiastic audiences until his passing on November 5, 2003.

On this day in music history: July 12, 1965 – …

On this day in music history: July 12, 1965 – “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers is released. Written by Hy Zaret and Alex North, it is the eleventh single release for the pop/blue eyed soul vocal duo from Los Angeles, CA. Written in 1955 by lyricist Hy Zaret and film score composer Alex North (“A Streetcar Named Desire”, “The Rainmaker”, “Spartacus”) for the prison drama “Unchained”, the original version of “Unchained Melody” is sung by Todd Duncan in the film. It becomes an instant hit, through numerous cover versions cut after “Unchained” is released. Les Baxter, Al Hibbler and Roy Hamilton all score major hits with their renditions in 1955. Fast forward a decade later, The Righteous Brothers  are in the middle of a major hit streak, begun that February when “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” hits number one. While working the follow up album, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield agree to record “Unchained Melody” for the new record. In spite of singing together as a duo, they mutually agree to record one solo vocal each per album. They flip a coin to decide who will sing it with Hatfield winning the coin toss. Using Roy Hamilton’s epic version as the template for theirs, the track is recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, CA, with members of The Wrecking Crew on March 2, 1965. Though producer Phil Spector is co-credited on the released record, “Melody” is produced by Bill Medley alone. “Unchained Melody” is initially released as the B-side of “Hung On You”, written by Spector, Carole King and Gerry Goffin. DJ’s response to “Hung On You” is lukewarm and the song stalls at #47 on the Hot 100. Flipping the single, radio begins playing “Unchained Melody” instead and rockets up charts. Entering the Hot 100 at #72 July 17, 1965, it peaks at #4 on August 28, 1965. An instant classic, it becomes one The Righteous Brothers most popular songs. “Unchained Melody” becomes a surprise hit again, twenty five years after its original release when it is prominently featured in the box office smash “Ghost” in 1990. Verve Records re-releases the original version due to overwhelming popular demand, but only as a 7" vinyl single in the US, in an effort to encourage to fans to purchase a newly compiled Greatest Hits package released on CD. In the wake of the songs sudden resurgence in popularity, The Righteous Brothers release a newly re-recorded version of “Unchained Melody” on Curb Records. Filling the gap left by Verve not releasing a cassette or CD single of the original recording, the Curb version competes with the original, with the cover peaking at #19 on the Hot 100, turning Platinum and receiving a Grammy nomination in 1991. In spite of the original recording not being made widely available as a single, it still wins the chart race, peaking at #13 on the Hot 100 on October 20, 1990. The Righteous Brothers’ 1965 recording of “Unchained Melody” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2000.

On this day in music history: April 9, 1966 – …

On this day in music history: April 9, 1966 – “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration” by The Righteous Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, it is the second (and final) chart topping single for the Los Angeles, CA based pop vocal duo. By late 1965, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield are having personal and creative differences with producer Phil Spector and are looking to leave Philles Records. The tension comes to a head between them after Spector begins recording only pop standards on the duo after radio programmers and fans prefer their cover of “Unchained Melody” (#4 Pop), the B-side of the single “Hung On You” (#47 Pop), after Spector is displeased that the older song is favored over the new one. Unhappy at the prospect of being “pigeonholed” musically, Medley and Hatfield ask for their release from Philles. Spector is willing to let them go, but at a price. MGM Records’ Verve label buys them out of their contract with Spector for one million dollars. For their first release, Medley calls on Mann and Weil who had also written “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”. Recorded at United Recording Studios in Hollywood, CA with members of The Wrecking Crew backing the brothers, and Medley producing, the single is an immediate smash upon its release February of 1966. Entering the Hot 100 at #90 on March 5, 1966, it races to the top of the chart five weeks later. Even after the chart topping status of “Soul And Inspiration”, The Righteous Brothers see a major down turn in their chart fortunes. After two more top forty singles on Verve, they do not have another top ten hit in the US until 1974 with “Rock And Roll Heaven” (#3 Pop), released on Capitol Records’ Haven subsidiary. “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: February 6, 1965…

On this day in music history: February 6, 1965 – “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” by The Righteous Brothers hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also peaking at #3 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weill and Phil Spector, it is the first chart topping single for the Los Angeles, CA based vocal duo. Producer and songwriter Phil Spector signs The Righteous Brothers to his label Philles Records in 1964, buying them out of the last two and a half years of their contract with Moonglow Records. Shortly afterward, he asks the husband and wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil to write a song for their debut single. Flying out to L.A. from New York City, they write “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” while staying at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, then completing it at Spector’s home. Phil contributes to the song by helping Barry and Cynthia write the bridge. The track is recorded at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, CA and features members of The Wrecking Crew providing instrumental support with a chorus of background vocalists that also includes Cher. Spector, concerned that some DJ’s may be frightened off by its 3:45 length, lists the singles’ running time at 3:05. The ploy works, and many radio stations are none the wiser. Released in November of 1964, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” quickly becomes a smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #77 on December 12, 1964, it climbs to the top of the chart eight weeks later. In time, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” becomes an iconic song of the era, and one of the definitive examples of producer Phil Spector’s famed “Wall Of Sound” production technique. The song is covered by numerous artists over the years including versions by Dionne Warwick, Cilla Black, Tom Jones, Elvis Presley, Johnny Rivers and Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway. Daryl Hall & John Oates also record the song, with their version peaking at #12 on the Hot 100 in November of 1980. “Lovin’ Feelin’” is also quoted by Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards in the blockbuster “Top Gun” in 1986, with the original version also being heard briefly in the film. According to music performing rights organization BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.), The Righteous Brothers’ original recording becomes the most played record on US radio in the 20th century, logging more than eight million plays by the end of 1999. By 2011, that number has nearly doubled to fifteen million broadcast plays. The single is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998, receiving the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Towering Song Award in 2005, and is selected for inclusion into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2015. “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

The Righteous Brothers, David Bowie, Yoko Ono,…

The Righteous Brothers, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, and Roberta Flack backstage at the Uris Theatre before the 17th Annual Grammy Awards on March 1, 1975 in New York City.