The Story Behind ‘Unchained Melody” [VIDEO]
This weekend, in honor of the Oscars, 92-9 The lake is going to the movies and we'll be featuring some of the great Classic Hits that have been used in movies. I thought I'd pick one song and give you a close-up on the story behind that song. It was really no contest as to which song I wanted to tell you about since the song has become a real evergreen.
Ever notice how seldom you meet a person who doesn't like the Righteous Brothers' version of 'Unchained Melody?' I guess, for most people, that's the first version they ever heard, but the song was already about a decade old when Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Brothers got his hands on the song and recorded the ultimate version. There's no argument that Hatfield's version of the song forever defined how that song should be sung, but Bobby wasn't the first to sing it or record it.
Back in 1955, there was a cheap prison movie called Unchained and the movie went pretty much unnoticed by the critics and movie-goers alike, but the theme song really caught people's ear and the song, sung in the movie by actor Todd Duncan. The song was recorded by an artist by the name of Al Hibbler and the record made it to #3 on the charts in April of 1955, but almost exactly a decade later, a duo of blue eyed soul singers for Los Angeles re-recorded the song and defined it for all time.
The Righteous Brothers consisted of Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield. Together they amassed a dozen hits during the course of their career and hit #1 their first time out with a million seller called 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling." Well, their producers went in search of more songs that would fit the duo's soulful sound and someone came up with 'Unchained Melody." The duo agreed to record the song as a Bobby Hatfield solo, but their record producer, Phil Spector, decided not to be the producer on that cut so Bill Medley stepped in as the producer and even played organ on the record. To say that the rest is history is a gross understatement.
'Unchained Melody' became a very big hit for the brothers, but over the years, Bobby Hatfield's version of a song from a grade- B prison movie has become one of the most played records in history and, of course, was used in the very popular movie, 'Ghost.'
Just for fun, I thought we'd listen to both versions of the song so you can see just how different they were.
First, here's the 1955 version by Al Hibbler:
And Now here's a vintage live performance of Bobby Hatfield with his tour de force version of the same song.