Bobby Hatfield, the blond, tenor-singing half of the Righteous Brothers died yesterday at age 63. He was found dead in his hotel room in Kalamazoo, Michigan shortly before he and Bill Medley, the other Righteous Brother, were to appear on stage.
They had been performing together for more than forty years (except for a breakup between 1968 and 1974), and few people sang better together. In 1964, they took the rock and roll world by storm with “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling.” Probably their next most memorable tune was a re-make of the 1955 Al Hibbler hit, “Unchained Melody,” which figured prominently in the film “Ghost.”
I recently saw the Righteous Brothers perform on one of those oldies concerts on public television, and they both could still sing their asses off, and they appeared to love doing it.
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year.
As they sang in their 1974 hit, “Rock and Roll Heaven,”
If you believe in forever,
Then life is just a one-night stand.
If there’s a rock and roll heaven,
well you know they’ve got a hell of a band.
Well, now they’ve also got a hell of a singer.