The Second Disc

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Bring Back That Lovin’ Feelin’: Righteous Brothers’ Philles Albums Arrive on CD…In Japan!

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It’s time to get Righteous…at least if you’re in Japan, that is, or willing to shell out big bucks from an import retailer.  Though they have eluded U.S. CD release to date, The Righteous Brothers’ three long-players from Phil Spector’s Philles label will be reissued on April 3 as limited edition SHM-CDs from Universal Music Japan.  1965’s You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ and Just Once in My Life, as well as 1966’s Back to Back, are all anchored by key Spector-produced tracks.  The remaining songs were produced by one-half of the duo, Bill Medley.

Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield’s tenure with Philles was short-lived and tumultuous, yet yielded the most enduring work of the team’s long career.  Medley, a bass-baritone, and Hatfield, a tenor, first united as members of The Paramours, but struck out on their own in 1963.  Their association with the Moonglow label provided them with two hits, Medley’s own “Little Latin Lupe Lu” and a cover of Willie Dixon’s “My Babe.”  Moonglow released two LPs from the duo (Right Now and Some Blue-Eyed Soul) before Phil Spector snapped the “brothers” up, and a third (1965’s This is New) after the titanic “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” made big waves on the charts.

Spector and his cadre of top-flight arrangers and musicians instinctively understood the brothers’ vocal blend.  When married to the Wall of Sound, the Righteous Brothers’ blue-eyed soul stylings became positively stratospheric.  Spector also understood when to spotlight just one half of the team.  While recording Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Spector’s “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” a song which BMI later certified the most played of the 20th century, Bobby Hatfield balked at Medley taking the lead vocal solo.  “What am I supposed to do during Medley’s solo?” an irritated Hatfield reportedly queried.  The producer, without missing a beat, replied, “You can go straight to the bank!”  Hatfield later got his due from Spector when it was he, not Medley, taking the lead on “Unchained Melody.”

What will you find on these expanded reissues?  Hit the jump!

All told, Spector helmed the title track of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ with Gene Page’s arrangement.  For its follow-up LP, Just Once in My Life, Spector again was in charge of the title song, this time a monumental co-write with Carole King and Gerry Goffin, orchestrated by Jack Nitzsche.  The revival of Hy Zaret and Alex North’s “Unchained Melody,” likewise credited to Spector, also featured on that album.  For The Righteous Brothers’ third and final Philles LP, Back to Back, Spector produced four tracks, three of which followed the “Unchained” blueprint of breathing life into classic standards.  Joining that trio of “Ebb Tide,” “For Sentimental Reasons” and “White Cliffs of Dover was another Goffin/King/Spector collaboration arranged by Nitzsche, “Hung on You.”

Despite all of these hits, the mercurial Spector clashed with his latest stars, leading Philles to sell off The Righteous Brothers’ contract to MGM in 1965.  For their 1966 debut on MGM’s Verve label, Bill Medley proved that he had learned well the lessons of his former producer.  “Soul and Inspiration,” written again by Mann and Weil and arranged by Medley’s frequent collaborator Bill Baker, aped the Wall of Sound production down to the tiniest detail.  It topped the U.S. singles chart much as “Lovin’ Feelin’” had.  From that point on, Medley and Hatfield’s place in the musical firmament was solidified, and they continued to score minor hits on Verve (“He,” “Go Ahead and Cry,” “On This Side of Goodbye”) before splitting in 1968 to pursue solo careers.  Hatfield briefly carried on the Righteous Brothers name without Medley.

The Righteous Brothers reunited in 1974, scoring a No. 3 U.S. hit with “Rock and Roll Heaven,” and had their most unexpected career renaissance in 1990 when the film Ghost turned “Unchained Melody” into a smash hit all over again.  It hit No. 1 AC and No. 13 pop in the U.S., and topped the pop chart in the United Kingdom.  Today, the song is heard eight times a week on Broadway and in London’s West End where it has been incorporated into Eurythmic Dave Stewart’s score for the stage musical adaptation of Ghost.  Not bad, eh?  Bobby Hatfield joined one hell of a band in rock and roll heaven when he died in 2003 due to cocaine abuse, but Bill Medley carries the torch for the team’s musical legacy right up through the present day.

Universal Japan’s SHM-CD editions of these three seminal Philles albums will feature the complete programs in both mono (Spector’s preferred style) and stereo.  All three titles arrive in stores on April 3.  You’ll find pre-order links below for, but better prices frequently can be attained from a number of eBay’s reputable sellers of Japanese imports.  And you might just want to keep those cards and letters coming to Universal U.S. for a domestic release; a Righteous Brothers on Philles mini-box set from Hip-o Select just might be what the doctor ordered, right?

The Righteous Brothers, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ (Philles PHLP-4007, 1965 – reissued Universal Japan UICY-75147, 2012 – program contained in mono and stereo)

  1. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
  2. Ko Ko Mo
  3. Old Man River
  4. Look at Me
  5. What’d I Say
  6. The Angels Listened In
  7. Sick and Tired
  8. Summertime
  9. Over and Over
  10. Soul City
  11. There’s a Woman

The Righteous Brothers, Just Once in My Life (Philles PHLP-4008, 1965 – reissued Universal Japan UICY-75148, 2012 – program contained in mono and stereo)

  1. Just Once in My Life
  2. Big Boy Pete
  3. Unchained Melody
  4. You are My Sunshine
  5. The Great Pretender
  6. Sticks and Stones
  7. See That Girl
  8. Oo-Poo-Pah-Doo
  9. You’ll Never Walk Alone
  10. Guess Who
  11. The Blues

The Righteous Brothers, Back to Back (Philles PHLP-4009. 2012 – reissued Universal Japan UICY-75149, 2012 – program contained in mono and stereo)

  1. Ebb Tide
  2. God Bless the Child
  3. Hot Tamales
  4. Hallejulah, I Love Her So
  5. She’s Mine, All Mine
  6. Hung on You
  7. For Sentimental Reasons
  8. White Cliffs of Dover
  9. Losing You
  10. Without a Doubt
  11. Late Late Night

Written by Joe Marchese

March 27, 2012 at 10:05

2 Responses

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  1. Great news, especially the MONO and Stereo.

    But these should be in a 3 CD set for $19.95 list. not 3 CDs for $150 plus $20 shipping.

    You can get the vinyl at a garage sale for $1


    March 27, 2012 at 10:47

  2. I echo Kevin’s sentiments. Hopefully these will receive a stateside release and with a more reasonable price tag.


    March 29, 2012 at 01:58

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