Retro of the day: Righteous Brothers

“Unchained Melody” is a 1955 song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. North used the music as a theme for the little-known prison film Unchained, hence the name. Todd Duncan sang the vocals for the film soundtrack.[1] It has since become one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, by some estimates having spawned over 500 versions in hundreds of different languages.[2]

Les Baxter (Capitol Records catalog number 3055) released an instrumental version which reached number 1. Then came song recordings by Al Hibbler (Decca Records #29441),[3] reaching number 3 on the Billboard charts; Jimmy Young which hit number 1 in the United Kingdom; and Roy Hamilton (Epic Records no. 9102), reaching number 1 on the R&B Best Sellers list and number 6 on the pop chart.[4] Hundreds of other recordings followed. However, it was the July 1965 version by The Righteous Brothers that became a jukebox standard for the late 20th century, achieving a second round of great popularity when it was featured in the 1990 blockbuster film Ghost.

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