12 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The hallowed combination of Bobby Hatfield’s crystalline countertenor, Bill Medley’s purring bass-baritone, and the duo’s ear for celestial, gospel harmonizing established The Righteous Brothers as champions of midcentury soul—and equipped them with an arsenal of crescendoing R&B hits. This compilation retraces their steps through the ’60s, from the doo-wop-inspired “Little Latin Lupe Lu” through densely woven mid-’60s Phil Spector collaborations like “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and “Unchained Melody” to later raw and unshackled songs such as “On This Side of Goodbye.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

The hallowed combination of Bobby Hatfield’s crystalline countertenor, Bill Medley’s purring bass-baritone, and the duo’s ear for celestial, gospel harmonizing established The Righteous Brothers as champions of midcentury soul—and equipped them with an arsenal of crescendoing R&B hits. This compilation retraces their steps through the ’60s, from the doo-wop-inspired “Little Latin Lupe Lu” through densely woven mid-’60s Phil Spector collaborations like “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” and “Unchained Melody” to later raw and unshackled songs such as “On This Side of Goodbye.”

TITLE TIME
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3:49
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Ratings and Reviews

4.4 out of 5

162 Ratings

162 Ratings

The Super Righteous Bros.

Trogdor12102

My favorite song on this of this album is unchained melody. So buy that one before any of the others.

These songs are timeless

dbrowning

I don't care what anyone says. The old songs are better. I say bring back that lovin' feeling with the songs that have meaning. Every one of these songs are timeless. They have the best recording of The Unchained Melody. It is better than Al Hibbler's recording, Les Baxter's recording and even Roy Hamilton's recording. It remains a classic rendering of the song and was even used it the movie "Ghost". From what I can tell, these are the original recordings. There are some budget CD's that do not have the originals, so beware.

This is the one to get.

djshortstack

My dad, who passed a few years back, was a big Righteous Brothers fan. In fact, he had a cassette tape of another RB Greatest Hits album (not this one), that we'd listen to on camping trips when I was a kid. So, for old times sake on Fathers Day, I wanted to hear some RB again.
So, when I went looking for their music, I was surprised to stumble upon a bunch of sub-par re-recordings of their classic catalog here on iTunes. Be forewarned: Listen to the clip BEFORE you buy. Those who know what the originals sound like (THINK: Phil "Stop Or I'll Shoot" Spector's Wall of Sound) will know the real deal from the knock-offs.
That said, this is the real deal.
And, while it's missing a few tracks from my pop's old Greatest Hits album, (namely a fantastic take of "I Love You For Sentimental Reasons"—my favorite rendition of the song, next to Nat "King" Cole's), this album includes many essentials: "You've Lost...," "Unchained Melody," "You're My Soul & Inspiration," "Ebb Tide," "Just Once In My Life," "Hung on You," etc.
Don't be fooled by some of the other albums for sale. This is the one to get.

About The Righteous Brothers

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

  • ORIGIN
    Los Angeles, CA
  • GENRE
    Pop
  • FORMED
    1962

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