American musical duo The Righteous Brothers (Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley) perform Unchained Melody, a 1955 song with music by the American composer Alex North (December 4, 1910 – September 8, 1991) and lyrics by the American lyricist Hy Zaret (August 21, 1907 – July 2, 2007). This is a live performance from 1965.

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The Righteous Brothers – Unchained Melody Live – Best Quality (1965)

Of the hundreds of recordings made, The Righteous Brothers version is the most-known version of “Unchained Melody”, which recorded by the duo for Philles Records in 1965. The lead vocal was performed solo by Bobby Hatfield, who later recorded other versions of the song credited solely to him. According to his singing partner Bill Medley, they had agreed to do one solo piece each per album. Both wanted to sing “Unchained Melody” for their fourth album, but Hatfield won the coin toss.

North used the music as a theme for the little-known 1955 prison film Unchained, which based on the non-fiction book Prisoners are People by Kenyon J. Scudder; hence the name. American baritone opera singer and actor Todd Duncan (February 12, 1903 – February 28, 1998) sang the vocals for the film soundtrack. Here is the 1955 movie version below:

Unchained Melody by Todd Duncan 1955

Unchained Melody Lyrics

Oh, my love
my darling
I’ve hungered for your touch
a long lonely time
and time goes by so slowly
and time can do so much
are you still mine?
I need your love
I need your love
Godspeed your love to me

Lonely rivers flow to the sea,
to the sea
to the open arms of the sea
lonely rivers sigh ‘wait for me, wait for me’
I’ll be coming home wait for me

Oh, my love
my darling
I’ve hungered for your touch
a long lonely time
and time goes by so slowly
and time can do so much
are you still mine?
I need your love
I need your love
Godspeed your love to me

The Righteous Brothers

The Righteous Brothers were the musical duo of the American singer Bobby Hatfield (August 10, 1940 – November 5, 2003) and the American singer-songwriter Bill Medley (born September 19, 1940). They recorded from 1963 through 1975 and continued to perform until Hatfield’s death in 2003. Their emotive vocal stylings were sometimes dubbed “blue-eyed soul”.

They 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.

The Righteous Brothers perform Unchained Melody
Bobby Hatfield of The Righteous Brothers performs Unchained Melody

On November 5, 2003, Bobby Hatfield was found dead in his hotel room in Kalamazoo, Michigan, shortly before he was due to perform at a concert with Bill Medley at Western Michigan University’s Miller Auditorium. The autopsy report attributed his death to heart failure brought on by cocaine. Bill Medley continued to perform as a solo artist for some time after Hatfield’s death, occasionally singing with a screen projection of old film footage of Hatfield.

The Righteous Brothers
The Righteous Brothers, Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley performing at Knott’s Berry Farm with Medley on the right. By Author unknown; Photo courtesy Orange County Archiveshttps://www.flickr.com/photos/ocarchives/5486876813/, No restrictions, Link
Knott’s Berry Farm is a 57-acre (23 ha) theme park located in Buena Park, California, owned and operated by Cedar Fair. In 2018, it was the twelfth-most-visited theme park in North America and averages approximately 4 million visitors per year. The park features 40 rides including roller coasters, family rides, dark rides, and water rides.

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