Showing posts with label Oldies Love Ballads. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oldies Love Ballads. Show all posts

The Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody (1965)

The Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody (1965) on WLCY Radio
'60s #1 Hits on WLCY Radio, All Original Artist! Original Hits




"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. 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.

The best-known version of "Unchained Melody" was recorded by the duo The Righteous Brothers for Philles Records in 1965 as the 'B' side of the single "Hung On You". Although the version was credited to The Righteous Brothers, lead vocals were performed solo by Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield, who later recorded other versions credited solely to him. This recording climbed to number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1965 and reached number 14 in the UK in 1965.

The producer of this recording is uncertain. Original copies of the single did not credit a producer for "Unchained Melody" (as shown in the inset), although Phil Spector was credited as producer of "Hung On You"; later copies of the single (after it became a hit) credit Spector as producer of "Unchained Melody" as well; but Bill Medley, the other Righteous Brother, consistently stated that he produced this recording. Medley, who had produced the duo before they signed with Spector and Philles, said that "Phil came to me and asked me to produce the Righteous Brothers albums because he would have taken too long and it would have cost too much money." According to Medley, "Unchained Melody" was intended solely as an album cut, and so he produced it and played piano on it; Spector only claimed production credit after it supplanted "Hung On You" as the hit. Medley also noted that "if I knew that it was gonna be a hit I certainly would have brought in a better piano player."

"Unchained Melody" reappeared on the Billboard charts in 1990 after The Righteous Brothers' recording was used in the box office blockbuster film Ghost. Two versions charted in the US that year. The 1965 original Righteous Brothers recording was reissued by oldies-reissue label Eric Records, which licensed the original recording from Polydor Records (which had acquired the rights years earlier). This version received a lot of airplay, but sales were minimal since it was only available as a 45 RPM single; it peaked at number 13. Polydor had previously licensed the CD rights for this recording to Rhino Records for a premium-priced 1989 compilation of Righteous Brothers hits from various labels; later in 1990, it issued its own regular-priced Righteous Brothers greatest hits CD that included the recording. However, partially due to the lack of a reasonably-priced CD version at the time the movie was released, The Righteous Brothers re-recorded the song for Curb Records, which released it as a cassette single, a vinyl single, and as part of a budget-priced CD compilation. The re-recorded version received minimal airplay but recorded excellent sales, peaking at number 19. For eight weeks, both versions were on the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously.
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The Beatles - Anna (Go to Him) (1963)

The Beatles - Anna (Go to Him) (1963) On WLCY Radio
'60s #1 Hits on WLCY Radio, All Original Artist! Original Hits




"Anna (Go to Him)", or simply "Anna", is a song written and originally recorded by Arthur Alexander. His version was released as a single by Dot Records on September 17, 1962. A cover version was performed by English rock group The Beatles and included on their 1963 debut album Please Please Me.

According to Richie Unterberger, music critic for Allmusic:

'Anna' was one of the great early soul ballads, even if its loping groove was closer to a mid-tempo song than a slow ballad. Like several of Alexander's songs, it would come to be more famous in its cover version than through its original release. And it was actually a small hit when it first came out in 1962, getting to #68 in the pop charts and #10 in the R&B listings.

Critic Dave Marsh rates Alexander's "Anna (Go to Him)" as one of the top 1001 singles of all time. He praises the "gently swinging rhythm," the tough, syncopated drumming, and Alexander's vocal, particularly at the beginning of the refrain, suggesting that John Lennon may have learned to sing ballads like "In My Life" by listening to Alexander's performance.

A personal favorite of John Lennon, it became part of the Beatles' early repertoire and was consequently recorded by them for their 1963 début album, Please Please Me. It is the first song released by the group which specifically names a girl. In the U.S., Vee Jay Records released it on Introducing... The Beatles (January 10, 1964) and Capitol Records re-released it on The Early Beatles (March 22, 1965). Vee Jay also released "Anna (Go to Him)" on the EP Souvenir of Their Visit: The Beatles in the US

The band recorded the song on February 11, 1963 in three takes; Take 3 was the master. It was remixed on February 25. George Harrison played the distinctive phrase on guitar; Floyd Cramer played it on piano for the original.

Unterberger praised the Beatles' version in his review, saying:

Ringo Starr faithfully [replicates] the unusual drum rhythm and hi-hat crunches. Lennon's vocal, however, added a tortured pain not present in Alexander's model, particularly when he wailed in his upper register at the conclusion of the bridges. The Beatles' backup harmony vocals, in addition, were superb, and more effective [than on Alexander's version].
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