Bill Medley is a legendary musician who has left an indelible mark on the world of music. Best known as one half of the duo The Righteous Brothers, Medley’s distinctive baritone voice and songwriting talents have earned him a place in the annals of music history.
Born on September 19, 1940, in Los Angeles, California, Bill Medley grew up in a musical family. His father was a guitarist, and his mother was a singer, and both of them encouraged their son’s musical talents from an early age. Medley began singing in church choirs as a child and learned to play the guitar and piano.
In high school, Medley formed a doo-wop group called The Paramours, which included his childhood friend Bobby Hatfield. The group won a local talent contest and recorded a few singles, but they never achieved significant success. Medley and Hatfield went their separate ways after high school, and Medley enrolled at Los Angeles City College to study music.
In 1962, Medley met Bobby Hatfield again, and they decided to form a new duo called The Righteous Brothers. They signed with the independent label Moonglow Records and released their first single, “Little Latin Lupe Lu,” which became a regional hit. The song caught the attention of the larger label Philles Records, and The Righteous Brothers signed with them in 1963.
Their first single on Philles Records, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” written by the legendary songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, became a massive hit, reaching number one on the charts and becoming one of the most iconic songs of the era. The song’s soaring chorus and Medley’s powerful baritone earned The Righteous Brothers a legion of fans and established them as one of the most important acts of the 1960s.
Success with The Righteous Brothers
The Righteous Brothers went on to have many more hits over the next few years, including “Unchained Melody,” “Ebb Tide,” and “Soul and Inspiration.” They were known for their dramatic performances and their ability to convey emotion through their music, and they became one of the most popular live acts of the era.
In addition to their success as performers, The Righteous Brothers were also talented songwriters. Medley co-wrote many of their hits, including “Little Latin Lupe Lu” and “Soul and Inspiration.” He also wrote songs for other artists, including “Brown Eyed Woman” for The Grateful Dead and “Rock and Roll Heaven” for The Righteous Brothers themselves.
The Righteous Brothers disbanded in 1968, and Medley embarked on a solo career. His first solo album, “100%,” was released in 1972, and it included the hit single “Peace Brother Peace.” He continued to release solo albums throughout the 1970s, but he never achieved the same level of success as he had with The Righteous Brothers.
In 1981, Medley reunited with Hatfield to record the album “The Righteous Brothers: Greatest Hits,” which included re-recordings of their classic songs as well as new material. The album was a success, and the duo went on to tour together for many years.
Later Career and Legacy
In addition to his work with The Righteous Brothers, Medley has had a successful career as a songwriter and producer. He wrote and produced songs for other artists, including Jennifer Warnes, who recorded a duet with Medley for the soundtrack of the hit movie “Dirty Dancing.” The song, “I’ve Had The Time of My Life,” became a massive hit and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Medley continued to record and tour as a solo artist throughout the 1990s and 2000s. He released several albums, including “The Best of Bill Medley” and “Damn Near Righteous,” which featured collaborations with other musicians such as Brian Wilson and Phil Everly.
In 2003, Medley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Righteous Brothers. The duo was recognized for their influence on popular music and their contributions to the development of rock and roll.
Medley’s music continues to be celebrated today, and he remains a beloved figure in the world of music. His distinctive voice and powerful performances have inspired generations of musicians and fans, and his legacy as a songwriter, performer, and producer is secure.
Bill Medley is a musician whose contributions to the world of music are immeasurable. His work with The Righteous Brothers helped define the sound of the 1960s, and his solo career and collaborations with other artists have continued to showcase his talents as a songwriter and performer.
Medley’s powerful voice and emotional performances have inspired generations of musicians and fans, and his legacy as a musician and songwriter is secure. Despite facing personal struggles throughout his life, Medley has continued to use his music as a source of comfort and inspiration, and he remains a beloved figure in the world of music today.