Retrospective 1963-1974

The Righteous Brothers

ABKCO, 2005

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


The Righteous Brothers are now fading from the memories of music fans except for an occasional play of one of their hits on an oldies radio program. During the mid-1960’s to the mid-1970’s, however, they were one of the most popular duos in music. Their string of singles led to their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, The Vocal Hall Of Fame, and a Rolling Stone Magazine ranking of the of the best 20 duos of all time.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

They are best remembered for their singles but their early albums for Phil Spector’s Wall Of Sound Phillies label are worth a listen. Today, there are a number of releases that cover their career. Retrospective: 1963-1974 presents the best of their music, which is some of the superior pop music of their era.

Bill Medley (born 1940) and Bobby Hatfield (1940-2003) were not your usual duo. The relied more on trading solo leads than on classic harmonies. Medley’s bass and Hatfield’s tenor were both clear instruments and they provided a wonderful counterpoint to each other.

Their best recordings were made under the auspices of Phil Spector. “Just Once In My Life,” “Unchained Melody,” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” are not just some of there better vocal performances but also have music that accentuates their voices and presents them in a way that was unique in the sixties.

The second phase of their career took place on the Verve label, which was primarily known for their jazz releases. The Righteous Brothers simplified their sound and produced straight-forward pop. “He,” and “You’ve My Soul And Inspirition” were emblematic of their new approach as they keep the focus on their vocals, without any wall of sound behind them.

“Rock And Roll Heaven” was their last effort at commercial success and remains one of their best-known songs. It was a clever song that paid tribute to several deceased rock and soul musicians.

The Righteous Brothers are well-worth seeking out both historically and musically. Retrospective: 1963-1974 is a good place to start.

Rating: B+

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