We've Lost That Loving Feeling...
Lost A Brother (Again).
was recently a segment on a local radio station discussing the deaths
of famous people and how they variously affected us. People called
in to talk about whose death affected them the most. I thought about
John Lennon. I thought about Jimi Hendrix. I thought about Janis
Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jerry Garcia, Roy Orbison and so many others.
Then my mind came to this past year and I thought, Wow! What a year
Kate. Katherine Hepburn left us much to our dismay. There was Gregory
Peck, one of the better actors and classier guys in cinema. Gregory
Hines went away. There was Johnny Cash, the man in black. There was
more...They all left us.
And now a brother, Bobby Hatfield. Bobby was the guy with the high voice
in the fantastic, classic R and B duo, The Righteous Brothers. The other
half of the duo, the guy with the deep voice, was, is Bill Medley. Bill
sang most of the song "Youve Lost That Lovin Feelin",
and man did he sing it. But Bobby sang the harmony, the high parts,
and man did he sing them. He also sang what will most likely go down
in modern music history as one of the very best, "Unchained Melody".
For those of you too young to remember the real thing, that was the
song used in the movie "Ghost" during the potters wheel
scene. That was a great scene made even greater by a great song sung
When I heard that Bobby Hatfield died I reached for my Righteous Brother
CD (I didnt have to dig it out because I keep it handy in case
I need it) and put on "Unchained Melody", hitting the replay
button time after time after time. Damn! That guy could sing!
But his death got me to thinkin".
Ive been listening to The Righteous Brothers since 1964 when "Youve
Lost That Lovin Feelin" first came out. That song grabbed at me
back then, even when I was just a kid, and it still grabs at me. For
me, the best part of the movie "Top Gun" was when Tom Cruise
sang the opening lines from that song to Kelly McGillis in the bar.
(Now, why didnt I ever think of that? Just think of all the girls
I could have met!) Not only did Bill Medley blow us all away with his
deep baritone voice belting out "Babayyyyyyy!" but so did
Hatfields falsetto echoing "Babeeeeeeeee!", but Hatfield
tugged at our tear ducts when he falsettoed into our consciousness
with "Unchained Melody."
The Righteous Brothers were important to those of us who listened to
them back then. They were important to those of us who listened to them
through the years. They are important to the world of modern music.
Call it what you want; rock and roll, R & B, Pop. These two guys
played a part, an important part. When George Harrison died last year
my guitar lay in its case gently weeping and I, well, I was a mess.
I was a mess when John Lennon died also. But truthfully, I think Bobby
Hatfield deserves our nod just as much as George Harrison. The songs
that The Righteous Brothers gave us will be remembered as much as any
and all Beatles songs (with a tip of my hat to The Beatles, whom I love
also). The media makes a big deal over the death of some famous people
but not others and Bobby Hatfield should be remembered as strongly and
as fondly as we remember Johnny Cash.
Bobby Hatfield, 1940 2003. We will miss you brother.
© Jeffrey Beyl November 2003
all rights reserved