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|Birth name||Robert Lee Hatfield|
August 10, 1940|
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||November 5, 2003
Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.
|Associated acts||The Righteous Brothers,
Robert Lee "Bobby" Hatfield (August 10, 1940 – November 5, 2003) was an American singer, best known as one half of the Righteous Brothers.
Born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Hatfield moved with his family to Anaheim, California, when he was four. A 1958 graduate of Anaheim High School, he sang in the school choir and played baseball. He briefly considered signing as a professional ballplayer, but his passion for music led him to pursue a singing career while still attending high school. He eventually encountered his singing partner, Bill Medley, while attending California State University, Long Beach. Hatfield is an alumnus of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
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Hatfield and Medley began singing as a duo in 1962 in the Los Angeles area as part of a five-member group called the Paramours. They were often told they sounded like African-American gospel singers and named their singing act "The Righteous Brothers" after a fan remarked of their singing, "that's righteous, brothers."
Their first charted single as the Righteous Brothers was "Little Latin Lupe Lu" and their first #1 was "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," produced by Phil Spector in 1964. Follow-up hits included the #1 "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration" and "Unchained Melody," and the latter song was actually a Hatfield solo performance later re-recorded after the success of the 1990 film Ghost, and Hatfield remarked to friends that he had not lost any of the high notes in his tenor range since the original recording, but had actually gained one note. The duo broke up in 1968, but returned with another hit in 1974, the #3 "Rock and Roll Heaven." The Righteous Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2003 by Billy Joel.
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Hatfield had a short marriage with Joy Ciro, who appeared as a dancer on the T.A.M.I. Show and Where the Action Is. They had two children, Bobby, Jr. and Kalin. Hatfield married Linda in 1979, and they remained married until his death; they had two children, Vallyn and Dustin.
Hatfield died at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan on November 5, 2003, apparently in his sleep, hours before a scheduled Righteous Brothers concert. In January 2004, a toxicology report concluded that an overdose of cocaine had precipitated a fatal heart attack. The initial autopsy found that Hatfield had advanced coronary disease. The medical examiner stated that "in this case, there was already a significant amount of blockage in the coronary arteries."
- Righteous Brothers Discography contains Bobby Hatfield Discographies and Tribute
- Bobby Hatfield's at Find A Grave