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The Righteous Brothers

1962–1968, 1974–2003
Bill Medley
Bobby Hatfield

Artistfacts for The Righteous Brothers

  • The duo got its name before they split from five-piece band, the Paramours. The group was performing "Little Latin Lupe Lu" (written by Medley) in the Black Derby (Santa Ana, California), when a few African-American Marines entered the club. At the end of the performance, a couple of Marines proclaimed that they were "righteous brothers" - which Medley and Hatfield adopted when they struck out on their own.
  • In 1964, they opened on the Beatles' US tour, but quit midway through.
  • Billy Joel inducted them into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2003. At the ceremony, Joel said: Sometimes people with blue eyes transcended the limitations of what their color and culture can actually be. Sometimes white people can actually be soulful. This was a life-changing idea. It changed my life."
  • Bobby Hatfield died suddenly while on tour on November 5, 2003. He was found in his hotel room just before the duo was supposed to go on stage at Miller Auditorium on the Western Michigan University campus. He was 63. (thanks, Cynthia - Ottawa, Canada)
  • The Righteous Brothers got a big bump when they became regular guests on the variety show Shindig!, which launched in 1964. It was perfect timing for the duo: they still looked like teenagers (they were in their early 20s), but were seasoned performers with a collection of catchy Pop tunes that played very well to the Shin-diggers. The show was produced in Los Angeles where The Righteous Brothers were based; at first, they didn't realize the broadcasts were reaching a national audience.
  • In our 2014 interview with Bill Medley, he talked about working with Phil Spector. "He wasn't difficult for us," said Medley. "I think he probably treated the girls different than he treated us guys, because we were kind of a street group. We were rhythm and blues. Not that Phil was scared of us, but I don't think he wanted to push our button."
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Comments: 13

...and decided to reunite in 1974, retiring in 1976 to raise their families. After taking a few years off, the duo reunited on a more permanent basis in 1981 and continued performing together until Hatfield's death in November 2003.Jean - Owensboro, Ky
Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield split up to pursue solo careers in 1968, although they stayed in touch and ocassionally appeared together. Hatfield attempted to reform The Righteous Brothers with former Knickerbocker Jimmy Walker; the pair even recorded one album, titled "Rebirth", toured and made television appearances together. Predictably, their partnership was brief--audience reaction to this new version of The Righteous Brothers was lukewarm, at best--and Hatfield split with Walker after a year-and-a-half. Eventually, Hatfield and Medley found themselves playing separate clubs in Vegas at the same time, started singing at each other's shows to enthusiastic audiencesJean - Owensboro, Ky
When the Righteous Brothers split from Phil Spector and the Philles label, their second biggest hit, "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration" (also written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil) followed quickly on the Verve label. Bill Medley had learned his lessons well under Phil Spector, and he produced "Soul and Inspiration" with a majesty and intensity that matched Spector's style perfectly.Jean - Owensboro, Ky
When Phil Spector leased the Brothers recording contract from Moonglow Records for his own Philles label, he used studio musicians from the fabled Wrecking Crew in their recording sessions--Carol Kay (guitar and bass), Barney Kessel (guitar), Don Peake (guitar), Larry Knechtel (piano), Earl Palmer (drums), Lou Blackburn (horns), and arranger Jack Nitsche are among those who helped create Spector's "wall of sound" on the Righteous Brothers singles he produced.Jean - Owensboro, Ky
The term "blue-eyed soul" was originally coined to describe the Righteous Brothers music by a Philadephia radio personality in the early '60s.Jean - Owensboro, Ky
Comedian Brad Garrett, of "Everybody Loves Raymond" fame, opened Vegas shows for the Brothers in the late '80s, becoming friends with Medley and Hatfield offstage. He spoke at Hatfield's 2003 memorial service.Jean - Owensboro, Ky
Lee Farrell, father of actor/comedian Will Farrell, was a longtime member of the Righteous Brothers band, playing saxophone and organ.Jean - Owensboro, Ky
Before Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield met, they were leading separate groups--Hatfield in The Variations, Medley in The Paramours, both groups singinge doo-wop songs of the '50s. A mutual friend combined members of the two groups to form a new version of The Paramours,from which Hatfield and Medley ultimately broke away to record "Little Latin Lupe Lu" as The Righteous Brothers.Jean - Owensboro, Ky
Elvis Presley was a big fan and good friend to both Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield. Elvis was once quoted as saying The Righteous Brothers were the only act he'd pay to go see.Jean - Owensboro, Ky
The Righteous Brothers were the first major rock'n'roll act to play the Vegas strip, playing the Sands Hotel in the mid'60s, at the same time as Frank Sinatra. Once, when Sinatra wanted a night off, he suggested "the Righteous boys" fill in for him in the main room, backed by the Count Basie Orchestra, conducted by Quincy Jones. The Brothers also did shows with the legendary comedian, Jack Benny.Jean - Owensboro, Ky
Bobby Hatfield, the cute "Blonde Bomber" with the majestic tenor for the Righteous Brothers, was a Major League Baseball prospect while playing shortstop for his Anaheim High School baseball team, and was highly scouted by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was inducted into the Orange County (California) Sports Hall of Fame in the late '80s.Jean - Owensboro, Ky
The Righteous Brothers first recording, "Little Latin Lupe Lu" (written and produced by Bill Medley) became a regional hit on the west coast but received national exposure on "Shindig", largely because Elvis Presley loved the song and would have his people call the "Shindig" people, requesting it week after week. "Little Latin Lupe Lu" has since become a garage-band standard, recorded and/or performed by bands ranging from The Kingsmen to Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, who included it during their shows in the '70s, and many others. The Brothers second recording, "My Babe" (co-written by Medley and Bobby Hatfield) has also become a popular cover song, recorded by diverse acts like The Spencer Davis Group and Foghat.Jean - Owensboro, Ky
The Righteous Brothers quit the Beatles tour for two main reasons: 1. Most of the early Beatles fans in the States were screaming young girls who had no interest in seeing or hearing a r'n'b act from southern California most of them had never heard of. Their screams of "we want the Beatles!" drowned out the Righteous Brothers set, and Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield grew tired of hearing it; and 2. Prior to the Beatles tour, they had been offered a spot an a new rock'n'roll TV pilot called "Shindig" and, given their reception during the Beatles tour, decided their career would be better served by the national exposure "Shindig" would give them. They were right, and the Righteous Brothers became "Shindig" regulars for two years.Jean - Owensboro, Ky
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