Tuesday 8/10/21 1pm ET: Feature Artist (2 of 2): Bill Medley & The Righteous Brothers

William Thomas Medley (born September 19, 1940) is an American singer and songwriter, best known as one half of The Righteous Brothers. He is noted for his bass-baritone voice, exemplified in songs such as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”. Medley produced a number of the duo’s songs, including “Unchained Melody” and “Soul and Inspiration”. Medley is a successful solo artist, and his million-selling #1 duet with Jennifer Warnes “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” won a number of awards.

Robert Lee Hatfield (August 10, 1940 – November 5, 2003) was an American singer. He and Bill Medley were the Righteous Brothers. He sang the tenor part for the duo, and sang solo on the group’s 1965 recording of “Unchained Melody”. Hatfield died at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan on November 5, 2003. He was found by Bill Medley and the Righteous Brothers’ road manager Dusty Hanvey. A security guard let them into Hatfield’s room after he had failed to show up at the concert venue when expected. He apparently died in his sleep, hours before a scheduled Righteous Brothers concert. In January 2004, a toxicology report concluded that cocaine use had precipitated a fatal heart attack. The initial autopsy found that Hatfield had advanced coronary disease. The medical examiner stated that “in this case, there was already a significant amount of blockage in the coronary arteries.”

The Righteous Brothers are an American musical duo originally formed by Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield but now comprising Medley and Bucky Heard. Medley formed the group with Hatfield in 1963. They had first performed together in 1962 in the Los Angeles area as part of a five-member group called the Paramours, and adopted the name The Righteous Brothers when they embarked on their recording career as a duo. Their most active recording period was in the 1960s and ’70s, and, after several years inactive as a duo, Hatfield and Medley reunited in 1981 and continued to perform until Hatfield’s death in 2003. The music they performed is sometimes dubbed “blue-eyed soul”.

Hatfield and Medley had contrasting vocal ranges, which helped them create a distinctive sound as a duet, also both had a strong vocal talent individually that allowed them to perform as soloists. Medley sang the low parts with his bass-baritone voice, with Hatfield taking the higher-register vocals with his tenor. His voice reached the register of a countertenor.

Following a year-and-a-half of Top 40 non-entries on Billboard’s Hot 100, the duo hit big with the late-1964 release of what would become their signature record, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” – a transatlantic number one produced by Phil Spector, often considered one of his finest works and a landmark recording in popular music. Other notable hits include three US 1965 Top Tens – “Just Once in My Life” and covers of “Unchained Melody” (also a huge hit in 1990) and “Ebb Tide” – and the massive US 1966 number one “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration”, plus the 1974 comeback hit “Rock and Roll Heaven”. Both Hatfield and Medley also had for a time their own solo careers. In 2016, Medley re-formed The Righteous Brothers with Bucky Heard and they continue to perform as a duo.

The Righteous Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Rolling Stone ranked them no. 16 on its list of the 20 Greatest Duos of All Time.