Righteous Brothers (The) Biography
Hatfield and Medley both possessed exceptional vocal talent, with range, control and tone that helped them create a strong and distinctive duet sound and also to perform as soloists. Medley sang the low parts with his deep, soulful baritone, with Hatfield taking the higher register vocals with his soaring countertenor.
They adopted their name in 1962 while performing together in the Los Angeles area as part of a five-member group called The Paramours, which featured John Wimber (a founder of the Vineyard Movement) on keyboards and artist and sculptor Nick Turturro on saxophone. At the end of one particular performance, a U.S. Marine in the audience shouted, "That was righteous, brothers!", prompting the pair to adopt the name as they embarked on their duo career.ic Hall of Fame in 2001.
John Wimber (then Johnny Wimber) brought Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley together for the band The Paramours in 1962. The Righteous Brothers started their recording career on the small Moonglow label in 1963 with two albums and two moderate hits: "Little Latin Lupe Lu" and "My Babe".
Their first major hit single was "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", their first release on the Philles label in 1965. Produced by Phil Spector, the record is often cited as one of the peak expressions of Spector's Wall of Sound production techniques. It was one of the most successful pop singles of its time, despite exceeding the then standard length for radio play. Indeed, according to BMI, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" was the most played song on American radio and television in the 20th century, estimated to have been broadcast more than eight million times. Spector used Cher (of Sonny & Cher fame) as a backing singer on this and other recordings.
The Righteous Brothers had several other Spector-produced hit singles in 1965, including "Just Once in My Life", "Unchained Melody" (originally the B-side of "Hung on You"), and "Ebb Tide", all of them reaching the Billboard Top 10. Medley has consistently said that he produced "Unchained Melody", intended only as an album track, but later copies of the original 45 release credited Spector as producer.
However, the singers did not get along well with Spector personally and their contract was sold to Verve/MGM Records in 1965. Their next release in 1966, "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration" was a Phil Spector sound-alike song, produced by Bill Medley, who was able to fully simulate the Spector style of production. It was written by Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann who had co-written "Lovin' Feelin'" with Spector. Medley used arranger/conductor Bill Baker to provide a similar sound to Jack Nitzsche's arrangement of "Feelin'". It quickly became their second #1 U.S. hit, staying on the top for three weeks, but the song failed to reach the Top 10 in the UK. In 1966, before they went their separate ways, and to capitalize on their previous hits, Verve/MGM issued a "Greatest Hits" compilation which has been modified twice: in 1983 with 10 tracks and in 1990 with two more tracks.
After a few more top 40 hits, including "He" and "Go Ahead And Cry", their popularity began to decline. Even a collaboration with former Motown A&R chief William "Mickey" Stevenson failed to work. They eventually split up in 1968, which lasted more than six years. Medley recorded a few solo recordings on several labels, while Bobby Hatfield teamed up with singer Jimmy Walker (from The Knickerbockers) using the Righteous Brothers name up until 1971. Neither he nor Medley was able to achieve any significant level of success. In 1974, Medley and Hatfield reunited to perform on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.