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Bob and Bill Were Righteous Brothers

The Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, both boys from the Los Angeles area,  had a huge hit with 1964’s “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” which is considered one of the best examples of Phil Spector’s famous “Wall of Sound” recording technique and one of the largest selling single hits of all time.  About the time of "Soul and Inspiration” I did a show with them in a big arena.

 

We hung backstage and at that time they talked about Philly like he was God because he had created the records that made them stars. But that affection was not to last; Phil was a control freak and they wanted to produce their own stuff, and the separation was not pretty.  As with most duos, there was some friction between the two, and at one point they separated for six years, but the public wanted that sound that only Bob’s countertenor and Bill’s baritone/bass voices alone could produce on other hits like, “Unchained Melody."

 

Unchained Melody

 

The Righteous Brothers had a lot of firsts, they were one of the first “Blue Eyed Soul” performers to be played on black radio, and the first Rock and Roll act to play the Las Vegas strip. “Lovin’ Feeling has been listed as the most played record on Radio and TV in history and sold more than 8 million copies.

 

I once sat next to Bobby Hatfield on an airplane and we talked about his career, Phil Spector, his relationship with Bill and other topics. Then I got the call that he had died in 2003 of heart failure related to cocaine use, a scourge of the industry at that time. Bill Medley went on as a solo act and began recording country songs that turned out to be very successful. I still remember the thrill I felt when I was on the radio and played one of their hits, they made close to perfect records, and were good, real guys.

 

You'll Never Walk Alone 

 

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