When The Righteous Brothers released “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” in 1964, it changed the music industry forever, creating the term “blue-eyed soul.”
The Righteous Brothers will be appearing at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino on Friday, Feb. 15.
You can’t talk about rock ’n’ roll without “You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin.” It’s been included in soundtracks (most notably Top Gun) and has been cited by music critics for decades; it captures awe whenever it’s played on an oldies radio station. The group scored another hit a year later that was almost as big with their cover of “Unchained Melody.”
After two breakups—one in 1968 and another in 1976—The Righteous Brothers reunited in 1981 and stayed together until Bobby Hatfield passed away in 2003. In 2016, Bill Medley started The Righteous Brothers again with Bucky Heard and began touring again.
The Righteous Brothers accomplished a recording industry first related to “Unchained Melody.” It appeared again on the Billboard charts in 1990 after being featured in the 1990 film Ghost. They re-recorded the song … and that version also made the Billboard charts.
During a recent phone interview with Medley, he discussed the two versions of the same song on the Billboard chart.
“It kind of started when ‘You Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ was in the movie Top Gun, and we realized that if they would have released it again, it would have been a hit all over again,” Medley said. “When ‘Unchained Melody’ came out, and the radio stations started playing the hell out of the record, they weren’t up to releasing it. So we went back in and re-recorded ‘Unchained Melody’ and put it out. It was a hit. They were playing the original and buying the new one, so both of them went up the charts.”
Medley said that although it was successful, in hindsight, the re-recording was probably not a good idea.
“You really can’t and shouldn’t mess with a record once a record is made,” Medley said. “Even though I produced the original ‘Unchained Melody,’ I knew how to produce the next one, too. But you should probably leave well enough alone. Financially, it worked, but I don’t think it was a good idea to do. You just can’t capture the magic that a hit record has. Nobody knows what that magic really is, which is a cool thing. Even though it was a hit, and you’re going in the studio to re-record it, you still don’t know what that magic, is and you can’t dupe it.”
Famed producer Phil Spector worked with them on “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” and “Unchained Melody” using his “wall of sound” recording technique.
“I don’t throw this word around too much, but Phil Spector was a genius in the studio,” Medley said. “He was brilliant at what he did. I think with ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,’ he just made a record you could never dupe. It was the perfect storm. It was an incredibly written song by Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, and Phil Spector’s production of it was phenomenal, and I think Bobby and I did a pretty good job on it.”
The 2016 return of The Righteous Brothers was warmly received, and the new duo has been consistently on tour since.
“It’s been phenomenally successful. Bucky does a great job,” Medley said. “You can’t replace Bobby, and we’re certainly not trying to, because he was one of a kind, but Bucky is doing a phenomenal job of filling in for Bobby. He’s a great singer; he’s a great guy; and I really love him a lot.”
The Righteous Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Medley discussed his feelings on its status in the industry today.
“I don’t think everybody in the business has the need or should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” he said. “I’m thrilled to death that we are, and I understand one of the criteria for being in there is that you brought something to the industry that wasn’t there and opened up a new door. Bobby and I opened up a new door for blue-eyed soul. I think it’s all OK, but I think it’s getting watered down. Sticking up for the rappers, I they belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but they should have their own hall of fame too.”
The Righteous Brothers will perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 15, at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, 84245 Indio Springs Parkway, in Indio. Tickets are $29 to $59. For tickets or more information, call 760-342-5000, or visit www.fantasyspringsresort.com.