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Profile: The Righteous Brothers

By

The Righteous Brothers

The Righteous Brothers

from righteousbrothers.com

Formed:

1962 (Los Angeles, CA)

Genres:

Pop, Soul, Pop-soul, Pop-rock

Members:

Bobby Hatfield (b. Robert Lee Hatfield, August 10, 1940, Beaver Dam, WI; d. November 5, 2003, Kalamazoo, MI): vocals (tenor, falsetto)
Bill Medley (b. William Thomas Medley, September 19, 1940, Los Angeles, CA): vocals (baritone)

Contributions to music:

  • Essentially created the genre known as "blue-eyed soul"
  • Gave producer Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" its biggest and most enduring hits
  • Their 1965 smash "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" broke the rules of what constituted a hit single
  • One of the most successful white acts to cross over to R&B audiences
  • Bill Medley is an experienced and successful producer in his own right
  • Helped create an ultra-dramatic take on Sixties pop romance
  • Medley helped kickstart the Dirty Dancing oldies revival of the '80s

Early years:

The duo of Hatfield and Medley (who were never related) met as members of two popular Southern California vocal groups, the Paramours and the Variations; soon, they were scoring hits on the local Moonglow label, and even making some national noise with an Isley Brothers-style tune Medley had written entitled "Little Latin Lupe Lu." It became a frat-rock favorite, attracting the attention of Jack Good, producer of the national (and L.A. based) TV show Shindig. They soon became regulars.

Success:

Their success on television got them noticed by producer Phil Spector, looking to move his "Wall of Sound" into more mature territory. With a song written by Phil, and the Brill Building team of Mann and Weill, entitled "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," they did just that; an improbable smash, it set the tone for their career. Personal differences with Spector led the duo to sign with Verve, where Medley himself miraculously recreated the Wall with the hit "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration."

Later years:

Medley, no doubt bolstered by his rep as the more talented of the pair, went solo in 1968, while Hatfield recruited Jimmy Walker of the Knickerbockers and kept the name going. In 1974, the original duo reformed and hit with "Rock and Roll Heaven," but the murder of Medley's wife in 1976 led to his retirement. However, the duo remerged in the late '80s when their music was featured in films such as Dirty Dancing and Ghost. Hatfield passed away in 2003, apparently from a cocaine overdose.

Other facts:

  • With over eight million spins, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" remains the most played single in American radio history
  • Listeners originally mistook Medley's ultra-low baritone on "Feelin'" to be a single played at the wrong speed
  • The duo took its name from a black Marine who responded to an early show with "That was righteous, brothers!"
  • Hatfield came very close to becoming a professional baseball player before teaming up with Medley
  • Both have appeared separately as guest stars on NBC's "Cheers"

Awards/Honors:

  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (2003)
  • GRAMMY Hall of Fame (1998, 2000)
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame (2004

Recorded work:

#1 hits:
Pop:
  • "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (1965)
  • "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration" (1966)
Top 10 hits:
Pop:
  • "Unchained Melody" (1965)
  • "Ebb Tide" (1966)
  • "Rock And Roll Heaven" (1974)
R&B:
  • "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (1965)
  • "Unchained Melody" (1965)
Top 10 albums:
Pop:
  • You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (1965)
  • Just Once In My Life... (1965)
  • Soul & Inspiration (1966)
R&B:
  • Right Now! (1963)
  • You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' (1965)
  • Just Once In My Life... (1965)
Other important recordings: "Little Latin Lupe Lu," "My Babe," "Try to Find Another Man," "This Little Girl of Mine," "Bring Your Love to Me," "You Can Have Her," "Justine," "Just Once in My Life," "See That Girl," "Hung On You," "Stand By," "He," "Go Ahead And Cry," "The White Cliffs Of Dover," "On This Side of Goodbye," "A Man Without a Dream," "Hang Ups," "I Can't Make It Alone," "Brown Eyed Woman," "Give It to the People," "Dream On"
Covered by: U2, Hall and Oates, The Kingsmen, Cilla Black, The Firm, Burton Cummings, Erasure, The Beach Boys, Sarah McLachlan, LeAnn Rimes, Cyndi Lauper, Al Green, Willie Nelson
Appears in the movies: "Beach Ball" (1965), "A Swingin' Summer" (1965)
Bill Medley: "The Last Boy Scout" (1991)
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