6 November 2003
Go ahead and cry
The world is only half as Righteous today; Bobby Hatfield, the shorter, blonder Righteous Brother, died in a Kalamazoo hotel last night at sixty-three.
Hatfield and Bill Medley had been a team for most of the last forty years, cutting their first single ("Little Latin Lupe Lu," written by Medley) in 1963. They scored their biggest hits under the direction of Phil Spector: "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," their first waxing for Spector, won a BMI award in 1997 for Most-Performed Song on Radio. (Personal note: The one and only time I attempted this song at karaoke, my voice was shot; though my range is normally closer to Medley's, I sang the higher Hatfield parts instead.)
The famed Righteous version of "Unchained Melody" is sung almost entirely by Hatfield, and rumors persist that Medley actually produced it, inasmuch as it was originally a B-side (the A-side was "Hung on You"), which tended to be throwaways on Phil Spector sessions; certainly it sounds like the recordings Medley produced after the Brothers left Spector for bigger bucks from MGM/Verve.
I will, of course, spin lots of these records tonight.