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The Righteous Brothers

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Biography

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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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  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.   He
  9.   Little Latin Lupe Lu
  10.   You 'Ve Lost That Lovin' Fellin'
  11.   Koko Joe
  12.   Time of My Life
  13.   Lovin' Feelin'
  14.   Ebb Tide
  15.   Never Walk Alone
  16.   Old Man River
  17.   Summertime
  18.   Brothers
  19.   That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day) by Bill Medley
  20.   Turn On Your Love Lights
  21.   Something's Got a Hold of Me
  22.   Bring Your Love to Me
  23.   This Little Girl of Mine
  24.   My Babe
  25.   Night Owl
  26.   Someone Is Standing Outside
  27.   Over and Over
  28.   The Angels Listened In
  29.   At My Front Door
  30.   Try to Find Another Man
  31.   You Are My Sunshine
  32.   It's Up to You
  33.   Love Wins All
  34.   Cryin'
  35.   Lupe Lu
  36.   Look at Me
  37.   Old Time Rock n Roll
  38.   What'd I Say
  39.   Something's Got a Hold on Me
  40.   Here I Am
  41.   Late Late Night
  42.   She's Mine All Mine
  43.   God Bless the Child
  44.   Fannie Mae
  45.   Fee-Fi-Fidily-I-O
  46.   B-Flat Blues
  47.   Let the Good Times Roll
  48.   Justine
  49.   You Can Have Her
  50.   I Just Want to Make Love to You
  51.   Brown Eyed Woman
  52.   Hung on You
  53.   (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
  54.   Georgia on My Mind
  55.   The White Cliffs of Dover
  56.   My Prayer
  57.   A Man Without a Dream
  58.   You Bent My Mind
  59.   I Don't Believe In Losing
  60.   Stranded in the Middle of Noplace
  61.   Been So Nice
  62.   Blues
  63.   Guess Who
  64.   You'll Never Walk Alone
  65.   See That Girl
  66.   The Great Pretender
  67.   So Many Lonely Nights Ahead
  68.   Without You I'd Be Lost
  69.   Bye Bye Love
  70.   Without a Doubt
  71.   Big Boy Pete
  72.   Ko Ko Mo
  73.   Soul City
  74.   Soul Man
  75.   Answer Me My Love
  76.   Gotta Tell You How I Feel
  77.   Loving You
  78.   Hallelujah I Love Her So
  79.   Hot Tamales
  80.   He Will Break Your Heart
  81.   Burn on Love by Jackie DeShannon
  82.   Cryin' Blues
  83.   I Still Love You
  84.   Sticks and Stones
  85.   (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
  86.   If Loving You is Wrong (I'm Sorry)
  87.   Love Keeps Callin' My Name
  88.   (I Need) Someone Like You
  89.   Go Ahead and Cry
  90.   Something You Got
  91.   On This Side of Goodbye
  92.   Stand By
  93.   Melancholy Music Man
  94.   I'm So Lonely
  95.   In That Great Gettin' up Morning
  96.   Love or Magic
  97.   American Rock and Roll
  98.   For Your Love
  99.   Baby, What You Want Me to Do
  100.   Melodia Desencadenada
  101.   There's a Woman
  102.   Sick and Tired
  103.   Great Getting up Morning
  104.   My Tears Will Go Away
  105.   Woman, Man Needs Ya
  106.   We Gotta Get out of This Place
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