The distinctive voice of The Righteous Brothers
Bill Medley turns 80 today
Bill Medley was born William Thomas Medley on September 19th, 1940 in Santa Ana, California. He began to write songs and record multi-track recordings in his living room and by age 19 he had two songs, “Womaling” and “Chimes of My Heart”, recorded by 50’s vocal group The Diamond. In 1962 he formed with Bobby Hatfield the successful vocal duo The Righteous Brothers, Producer Phil Spector was impressed by the duo that arranged to have them record for his own label Philles Records.In 1965, they had their first No. 1 hit, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”, which was produced by Phil Spector. According to music publishing watchdog Broadcast Music, Inc., “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” is the most-played song in the history of American radio. They also recorded the other duo’s signature song “Unchained Melody” with Philles Records. The duo left Spector in 1966 to sign with Verve Records where they had a hit with “Soul and Inspiration”, but broke up in 1968 when Medley left to pursue his own career. After a resurgence in popularity in 1990s due to the use of “Unchained Melody” in the film Ghost, they toured extensively as a duo right until Hatfield’s death in November 2003. The highlight of his solo career was in 1987 when he scored a No.1 hit on Hot 100 together with Jennifer Warnes with the duet song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” which was included on the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack album and plays along to one of the movie’s most memorable scenes. The song won Medley and Warnes a 1988 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the composers. In January 2016, Bill Medley announced he would revive the Righteous Brothers for the first time since 2003, partnering with new singer Bucky Heard, who replaced the late Bobby Hatfield. He is noted for his bass-baritone voice, exemplified in songs such as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”. He was inducted with The Righteous Brothers into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2003.
Watch The Righteous Brothers performing “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” on Shindig! in 1965
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