Posts Tagged ‘The Righteous Brothers’

The Very Best of The Righteous Brothers: Unchained Melody
The Righteous Brothers

For all of you who read my title and are now trying to drag me out of the seat I paid for: Hear me, my people!

I’m not disputing the angelic status of Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley. They sang with the power of 10 Grinches, plus 2. I’d rather listen to the two of them than to The Three Tenors, The Three Tenors and a Soprano, The Three Sopranos, Three Mo’ Tenors, or the four second basemen the Red Sox had in 1978. (Nothing got through that infield.)

But after hand-to-hand combat with the dozen songs on this disc, I came to some unexpected conclusions.

1) This is an outstanding example of a record where everything is either timeless or timed to expire.

Unchained Melody offers three icons of the 1960s: the title track, “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’,” and “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration.” There’s also one pretty good song, “Little Latin Lupe Lu,” the only time The Righteous Brothers ever got any cardio.

The remaining eight songs are wedges of frozen tundra. Four out of 12 is a fantastic success rate for a baseball player, but Unchained Melody is the equivalent of hitting three grand slams and a single while grounding into eight triple plays.

2) The message of “Just Once in My Life” –

Once in my life, let me get what I want
Girl, don’t let me down!
Just once in my life, let me hold on to one good thing I found!

– was echoed 20 years later by The Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want,” with a postmodern twist:

So for once in my life
Let me get what I want
Lord knows, it would be the first time

3) Medley and Hatfield were like so emo. If they were starting out today, they’d wash that Brylcream right out of their hair and let it fall in uneven bangs across their field of vision. These sad boys are always being pushed out the emergency exit. Even on “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration,” they’re trying too hard – no woman could be all of that for one man. She’d feel trapped. Look in her eyes, kid, she’s packing her bags.

4) Excuse me for taking forever to figure this out. When The Walker Brothers recorded “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore,” they were imitating The Righteous Brothers. “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” even has that fake Phil Spector production – something Bill Medley pulled off when he gave “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration” that fake Phil Spector production.

The Righteous Brothers vs. The Walker Brothers: An analysis

The Righteous Brothers:
– Two guys who weren’t brothers
– Weren’t named Righteous
– Formed in California

The Walker Brothers:
– Three guys who weren’t brothers
– Weren’t named Walker, but they all changed their names to Walker
– Formed in California, pretended to be English

DJs today have a concept called “deep cuts,” which means playing songs that don’t get played much. No DJ is going to look to this disc for deep cuts, not even “Ebb Tide,” which in 1965 was a super explosive smash-hit explosion but today smells like everything the sea leaves behind.

Sadly, the good songs on Unchained Melody are also term-limited. Per order of the National Popular Music Safety Board, “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’ ” and its equals can only be played at weddings.

Rock on Brother Medley, and rest in peace Brother Hatfield.

Random Pick of the Day
A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service (2016)
This is the band that gave us Q-Tip. I can’t believe that I’ve been fighting all my life for a good nickname and this gentleman renames himself after something you stick in your ear and everybody thinks it’s totally cool! I should’ve called myself Magic Wand years ago.

We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service is the Tribe’s first record since 1998. The title is a tribute to their bandmate Phife Dawg, who died earlier in 2016.

When We Got It is good, which it is about half the time, it cuts you with a scalpel, then turns around and hands you a suture. This is jazz- and hard-rock inflected rap that takes turns having fun and having a meltdown over how fucked up this country is. “Space Program” is angry, “Dis Generation” is about cultural milestones, most of which I don’t understand, and “The Killing Season,” once it gets going, is just plain killing.

Random Pan of the Day
United Airlines

United. Meet United.
They’re the modern fascist family
With their
Cops and goon squads
They’re rewriting hospitality.

Someday, when I’m training for a fight
I’ll book me a United Airlines flight

When you’re
with United
You’ll have a yabba dabba doo time
A dabba doo time
You’ll have a – Hey! Don’t break my guitar! Don’t Tase me, bro!


Today’s vocabulary word is “leverage,” and I don’t mean the TV show about happy-go-lucky con artists who police the global economy but can’t figure out how to date. I have leveraged my blog into a regular slot at, and if you enjoy what I’m dishing out here I hope you’ll visit me there. My first post is up and it’s about my voyage to extreme manliness. My second post will probably be about how to turn blogging into cash money. Special D will be especially interested in that one.

What then is the future of Run-DMSteve? I’ll continue to write about music here, as I still have plenty of elitist opinions, judgments, and body slams to dispense. My goal is to post to each place once every two weeks, on alternating weeks. If that turns out to be overly ambitious I’m sure I’ll complain about it. If you’d like to be alerted, or warned, that I’ve published something, you can subscribe to my little corner of The Nervous Breakdown just as you can subscribe to me here.

The Clash sang, “Know your rights/all three of ’em.” I’d like to thank my readers, all three of ’em, for your continuing flow of encouragement, comments, and surplus food.

Cover me
It seems to me that there are four types of covers:

1)     You can transform the original and make it your own.
2)     You can fail to transform the original and make everyone laugh at you.
3)     You can transform the original but no one cares.
4)     You can hew close to the original but still rule by simply changing the vocal.

Transformation and total ownership: The Clash’s “I Fought the Law.” The original, by The Crickets, doesn’t measure up. (The Bobby Fuller 4 version doesn’t cut it, either.)

Failure to thrive: Hall & Oates going postal on “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.”

A tree falls in a forest and nobody hears it: The Charlie Hunter Trio’s “Come As You Are.” This jazz version of the grunge anthem is fantastic, but Charlie Hunter is not going to make anyone forget Nirvana, not even on an album that includes the evocative “Fistful of Haggis.”

That leaves the miracle of a good voice. Here are two examples:

Chris Isaak, “I Want You to Want Me”: Musically, this one’s close to the Cheap Trick original, and it makes me realize the main reason I dislike Cheap Trick – the lack of a decent singer. Chris Isaak usually makes you cry but here he’s almost exultant.

Elizabeth Harper & The Matinee, “Pictures of You”: This Elizabeth Harper is not the 7-foot Amazon who married Dennis Kucinich. Her wistful voice is perfectly suited to this classic from The Cure:

I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they’re real
I’ve been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel

Compared to Elizabeth Harper, Robert Smith sang the original as if he and his emotions were spending the night in separate rooms. Harper and her band add a couple of strategic pauses, but otherwise it’s her voice that brings the song home.

“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”
A while back I wrote about a startling trend in naming songs: using four consecutive nouns. Here’s a statistical offshoot. If you haven’t spent some time singing “Na na na na, na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, good-bye,” you’ve at least heard other people doing it. And in either case I’m sure you’re sorry.

It took 40 years, but this “song” by “Steam,” a band that never existed, has spawned what I thought at first was a sequel: “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” by My Chemical Romance. A close examination of both works reveals that the only element they share is the doo-wop na na nas. While I give MCR credit for rhyming “From mall security” with “Get plastic surgery,” their paranoid drug rant is not going to become a staple at sporting events anytime soon. Hey hey hey, good-bye.