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Bobby Hatfield

'Bobby Hatfield of Righteous Brothers dead at 63'
Thursday, November 6, 2003

Bobby Hatfield, one half of the duo the Righteous Brothers, has died of undetermined causes. He was found in a hotel room about half-hour before he was due to perform at the West Michigan University. The Righteous Brothers, inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, were known for their huge hits "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling".

The Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley & Bobby Hatfield, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year. Their 1964 single, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," became their signature tune and has been cited by numerous sources as the most-programmed song in radio history. Later 1960’s hits included "Soul and Inspiration" and "Unchained Melody".

Robert Lee Hatfield was born on August 10th, 1940, in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. His family moved to Anaheim, California, when he was 4. Hatfield organized singing and instrumental groups in high school while helping his parents with their dry cleaning business. An avid athlete, Hatfield considered a career in professional baseball but found his true calling in music, a love he pursued while attending Long Beach State University, where he formed a band and performed at bars and proms. Hatfield teamed up with Medley in 1962 as part of a five-piece group called The Paramours. According to the Righteous Brothers web site, a black Marine called out during one of their performances, "hey, that was righteous, brothers!" They renamed themselves the Righteous Brothers before the release of their first album in 1963. The following year they teamed up with the ‘Wall of Sound’ producer, Phil Spector. Their sweeping ballad, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, at almost four minutes long, was unusually long for the times. But the power of the soaring, orchestral track & combination of Medley & Hatfield’s voices pushed it to No.1. The song featured in the Tom Cruise film, ‘Top Gun’. Their other huge hit, "Unchained Melody" was featured in the 1990 movie "Ghost," and a re-recorded version earned Hatfield and Medley a Grammy nomination.

After splitting up in 1968, they reunited in 1974, returning to the top of the charts with "Rock and Roll Heaven."

 

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