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We've Lost That Loving Feeling...

We Lost A Brother (Again).
Jeffrey Beyl

There 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 it’s been!

There was 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 "You’ve 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 potter’s wheel scene. That was a great scene made even greater by a great song sung magnificently.

When I heard that Bobby Hatfield died I reached for my Righteous Brother CD (I didn’t 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".

I’ve been listening to The Righteous Brothers since 1964 when "You’ve 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 didn’t 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 Hatfield’s falsetto echoing "Babeeeeeeeee!", but Hatfield tugged at our tear ducts when he falsettoe’d 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
Seattle, WA

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