Bill Medley

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Bill Medley
Bill Medley in 2012.JPG
Bill Medley speaking to fans after performing at The Big E, West Springfield, Massachusetts, on opening day, September 14, 2012.
Background information
Birth name William Thomas Medley
Born (1940-09-19) September 19, 1940 (age 75)
Santa Ana, California, U.S.[1]
Genres Blue-eyed soul
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Voice, piano
Years active 1959–present
Labels United Artists, RCA
Associated acts The Righteous Brothers
Bobby Hatfield

William Thomas "Bill" Medley (born September 19, 1940, Santa Ana, California, United States) is an American singer and songwriter, best known as one half of The Righteous Brothers. He is noted for his bass-baritone voice, exemplified in songs such as "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'". Medley produced a number of the duo's songs, including "Unchained Melody" and "Soul and Inspiration". He also has a career as a solo artist, and his duet with Jennifer Warnes "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" won a number of awards.

Early life[edit]

Medley was born in September 19, 1940 in Santa Ana, California, USA to Arnol and Irma Medley.[1][2] He attended Santa Ana High School and graduated in 1958.[3] Medley was raised as a Presbyterian and started singing in a church choir.[4] He parents had a swing band.[5] He became interested in R&B music listening to black music stations.[4] An early influence he cited is Little Richard who he first heard when he was fifteen or sixteen years old, and later Ray Charles, Bobby Bland, and B.B. King.[6][7]

Medley first formed a singing duo with his friend Don Fiduccia, who also played the guitar, called The Romancers. He began to write songs and record multi-track recordings in his living room.[8][9] At 19, he had two songs, "Womaling" and "Chimes of My Heart", recorded by 50s vocal group The Diamonds.[8] Medley and Fiduccia then formed a group called the Paramours in 1960 with Sal Fasulo and Nick Tuturro, later joined by Mike Rider and Barry Rillera.[10] The band had their first paying gig at Little Italy restaurant in Anaheim. The Paramours were signed to Mercury Records' subsidiary label Smash Records, and released songs such such as "That's The Way We Love" and "Miss Social Climber" in 1961.[11]

The Righteous Brothers[edit]

The Righteous Brothers performing at Knott's Berry Farm, Bill Medley on the right

Medley first met his singing partner Bobby Hatfield through Barry Rillera who was in both Hatfield's and Medley's group and asked them to see each other's show.[10] They were later brought together by saxophone player John Wimber, who later went on to found The Vineyard Church movement, to form a new group in 1962, but kept the name Paramours. They performed at The Black Derby nightclub in Santa Ana,[10] and released a single "There She Goes (She's Walking Away)" in December 1962 with a small record label Moonglow. However the band did not have much success and soon broke up, leaving Hatfield and Medley to perform as a duo in 1963.[12] Medley and Hatfield adopted the name The Righteous Brothers, and their first single was the Medley-penned "Little Latin Lupe Lu" released under the label Moonglow Records.[1] Medley also recorded as a solo artist with Moonglow, and released a single "Gotta Tell You How I Feel" which did not chart.[13]

In 1964, The Righteous Brothers appeared in a show with other groups in Cow Palace in San Francisco where Phil Spector was conducting the band for the entire show.[1] Spector was impressed by the duo and arranged to have them record for his own label Philles Records.[14] In 1965, they had their first No. 1 hit, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", which was produced by Phil Spector. According to music publishing watchdog Broadcast Music, Inc., "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" is the most-played song in the history of American radio.[15] They also recorded other songs such as "Unchained Melody" with Philles Records. Medley, who had produced the duo before they signed with Spector and Philles, was the actual producer on many tracks and 'B' sides credited to Spector, including "Unchained Melody" which was originally intended to be an album track.[16][17] On singles such as "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and Just Once in My Life, the vocals were concentrated mainly on Medley, but on a few singles, such as "Unchained Melody" and "Ebb Tide", Hatfield performed solo.

The duo left Spector in 1966 to sign with Verve Records where they had a hit with "Soul and Inspiration", but broke up in 1968 when Medley left to pursue his own career. Medley was also performing three shows a night in Las Vegas; according to Medley, he found it too much of a strain on his voice singing solo, and lost his voice for a while. Under advice, he sought out Hatfield to reform The Righteous Brothers in 1974.[18] They signed with Haven Records, quickly recorded "Rock and Roll Heaven" which became a hit. Medley however quit music for a while after the death of his first wife in 1976, but reunited with Bobby Hatfield in 1981 for the 30th special of American Bandstand (where they performed an updated version of "Rock and Roll Heaven").[19] Although Medley focused his attention on his solo career in the 1980s, they continued to appear together as a duo.[20] After a resurgence in popularity in 1990s due to the use of "Unchained Melody" in the film Ghost, they toured extensively as a duo right until Hatfield's death in November 2003.[21][22] The Righteous Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2003 by Billy Joel.[23]

Solo career[edit]

Medley also had a moderately successful solo career. In 1968, Medley first recorded "I Can't Make It Alone" written by Carole King, but the song failed to make much of an impact.[24] The following singles, "Brown Eyed Woman" written by Mann and Weil, and "Peace, Brother, Peace", both performed better and were Top 40 Pop hits. In 1969, he won 2nd place at the Festival Internacional da Canção (FIC) in Rio de Janeiro, with the song "Evie", by Jimmy Webb.[25] Medley performed "Hey Jude" at the 1969 Grammy, and was then signed to A&M Records which released a number of his records.[26] One of his recordings, "Freedom and Fear" from Michel Colombier's album Wings, was nominated for a Grammy in 1972.[27][28]

Medley released several solo albums during the 1970s and 1980s, and enjoyed a resurgence in his career in the 1980s. He released an album, Sweet Thunder in 1980, containing a version of Don't Know Much, which was originally written and performed by Barry Mann the same year. He signed with Planet Records in 1982 and later with RCA. In 1984 and 1985, he charted 5 singles on the country charts with the biggest of these being the Top 20 country hit, "I Still Do," which also crossed over to the adult contemporary charts and later became a "cult" hit with the Carolina Beach/Shag dance club circuit. One of Medley's minor entries, "All I Need to Know" was later recorded as "Don't Know Much" by Grammy-winning duet Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville was a long running No. 2 Hot 100 and No. 1 Adult Contemporary in 1989-90.

In 1987 his duet with Jennifer Warnes, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life", was included on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack album, and the single reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The song won Medley and Warnes a 1988 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the composers.[29] "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" is now seen and heard ubiquitously on TV and radio commercials — covered by singers other than Medley and Warnes — usually connected with vacation, cruise, resort, and other such holiday-themed advertisers.

Among his other notable songs are "Most of All You", the closing theme to the movie Major League; "Friday Night's A Great Night For Football" from Tony Scott's movie, The Last Boy Scout; and the theme song for the Growing Pains spinoff, Just The Ten of Us. He also collaborated with Giorgio Moroder and scored a moderate UK hit in 1988 with a version of "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother."[30] Medley recorded a video for the song which was also used as the end credit theme for Rambo III.[31] Bill Medley continues to perform solo after Bobby Hatfield's death in 2003.

Recent work[edit]

Bill Medley appeared in the two-part episode "Finally!" of the hit TV show, Cheers. In 1998 Medley along with Jennifer Warnes sang "Show Me The Light" during the end credits of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie. He also recorded a vocal track for the song Lullabye on Jimmy Chamberlin's (of Smashing Pumpkins fame) solo album, Life Begins Again.[32]

Through the mid to late 2000s Bill Medley performed mainly in Branson, Missouri at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater, Andy Williams Moon River Theater and The Starlite Theatre. Later Bill Medley also began touring with his daughter McKenna and her 3-Bottle Band.[32][33] On November 24, 2013, he performed in concert for the first time in the UK at the Wembley Arena.[34]

Bill Medley wrote a memoir which was published in April 2014, titled The Time of My Life: A Righteous Brother's Memoir.[35]

Personal life[edit]

Bill Medley met his first wife Karen O'Grady in church, started dating in 1963 and they were married at the beginning of his music career. Their son Darrin was born in 1965, but they were divorced when Darrin was about five. Medley also married Suzi Robertson in 1970, and then Janice Gorham, but both marriages were soon annulled.[36] He had a number of relationships with other women, including Darlene Love, Mary Wilson and Connie Francis.[37] Medley was also a close friend of Elvis Presley.[38][39] In January 1976, his first wife Karen was raped and murdered by a stranger, and Medley decided to take time off from his music career to look after his 10-year-old son Darrin. The murderer was never caught and Medley has ever since after the murder and up to this day employed a private investigator to track down the killer.[37] Medley married his current wife Paula in 1986 and they have a daughter, McKenna.[40] Their daughter is also a singer and she performs with Medley as his duetting partner on "Time of My Life" in his tour.[41]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Medley was nominated for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist in the 1972 Grammy for his recording of "Freedom and Fear", a track from Michel Colombier's album Wings.[27]

In 1988, Bill Medley received a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for the his duet with Jennifer Warnes on "(I've Had) The Time of My Life".[42]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions Label
US
[43]
US Country
[43]
1968 Bill Medley 100% 188 MGM
1969 Soft and Soulful 152
1970 Gone A&M
1970 Someone Is Standing Outside
1971 A Song for You
1973 Smile
1978 Lay a Little Lovin' on Me United Artists
1980 Sweet Thunder
1982 Right Here and Now Planet
1984 I Still Do 58 RCA
1985 Still Hung Up on You
1988 The Best of Bill Medley MCA/Curb
1993 Going Home Essential
2007 Damn Near Righteous
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Country
[43][44]
US
[45]
US
AC

[46]
CAN Country
[47][48]
CAN
[49][50]
CAN AC
[51]
UK
[52]
1968 "I Can't Make It Alone" 95 63 Bill Medley 100%
"Brown Eyed Woman" 43 36
"Peace Brother Peace" 48 46 Soft and Soulful
1969 "This Is a Love Song" 112 non-album single
1979 "Statue of a Fool" 91 Lay a Little Lovin' on Me
1981 "Don't Know Much" 88 29 Sweet Thunder
1982 "Right Here and Now" 58 31 Right Here and Now
1984 "Til Your Memory's Gone" 28 20 I Still Do
"I Still Do" 17 25 22
"I've Always Got the Heart to Sing the Blues" 26 41
1985 "Is There Anything I Can Do" 47 46 Still Hung Up on You
"Women in Love" 55
1986 "Loving on Borrowed Time" (with Gladys Knight) 16 Cobra Original Soundtrack
1987 "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (featuring Jennifer Warnes) 1 1 1 3 6 The Best of Bill Medley
1988 "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" 25
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Steve Sullivan (October 4, 2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Volume 2. Scarecrow Press. pp. 101–103. ISBN 978-0810882959. 
  2. ^ Bill Medley (April 24, 2014). The Time of My Life: A Righteous Brother's Memoir. Da Capo Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0306823169. 
  3. ^ "Local News in Brief : Santa Ana : Bill Medley to Perform Concert at Alma Mater". Los Angeles Times. March 9, 1989. 
  4. ^ a b "Interview with Bill Medley [Part 1 of 3]". WGBH Open Vault. 
  5. ^ Scott Iwasaki (June 24, 2014). "Righteous Brother Bill Medley will share stories with Park City". The Park Record. 
  6. ^ Bill Crandall (February 28, 2003). "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: The Righteous Brothers". Rolling Stone. 
  7. ^ Jamie Blaine (March 31, 2014). "Monday Rock City: Interview with Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers". The Weeklings. 
  8. ^ a b Bill Medley (April 24, 2014). The Time of My Life: A Righteous Brother's Memoir. Da Capo Press. pp. 8–9. ISBN 978-0306823169. 
  9. ^ "One Righteous Brother: Bill Medley set to perform at Hot August Nights". RGJ.com. 
  10. ^ a b c Bill Medley (April 24, 2014). The Time of My Life: A Righteous Brother's Memoir. Da Capo Press. pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-0306823169. 
  11. ^ "The Paramours_There She Goes". 
  12. ^ Haunted Las Vegas: Famous Phantoms, Creepy Casinos, and Gambling Ghosts. Globe Pequot Press. 2012. p. 64. ISBN 9780762789108. 
  13. ^ Bob Leszczak (December 11, 2014). Encyclopedia of Pop Music Aliases, 1950-2000. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 283. ISBN 9781442240087. 
  14. ^ Mick Brown (April 7, 2008). Tearing Down The Wall of Sound: The Rise And Fall of Phil Spector. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 171. ISBN 978-0747572473. 
  15. ^ "BMI". BMI. 1999-12-13. Retrieved 2013-03-27. 
  16. ^ Robert Dimery (December 5, 2011). 1001 Songs: You Must Hear Before You Die. Cassell Illustrated. 
  17. ^ Prato, Greg (15 June 2014). "Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  18. ^ Bill Medley (April 24, 2014). The Time of My Life: A Righteous Brother's Memoir. Da Capo Press. pp. 101–102. ISBN 978-0306823169. 
  19. ^ Frank Hoffmann (2006). Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-hop. Facts on File. p. 225. ISBN 9780816069804. 
  20. ^ "Pop Beat : Medley Earns Praise As 'New' Artist - latimes". Articles.latimes.com. 1985-05-10. Retrieved 2015-10-21. 
  21. ^ "The Righteous Brothers". Songwriters Hall of Fame. 
  22. ^ "“Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” 1964-1965". The Pop History of Dig. 
  23. ^ "Billy Joel inducts The Righteous Brothers Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions 2003". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 
  24. ^ Bill Medley (April 24, 2014). The Time of My Life: A Righteous Brother's Memoir. Da Capo Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-0306823169. 
  25. ^ "Bill Medley - Evie". Festivais da Canção. 
  26. ^ Bill Medley (April 24, 2014). The Time of My Life: A Righteous Brother's Memoir. Da Capo Press. pp. 81–83. ISBN 978-0306823169. 
  27. ^ a b "Grammy Awards 1972". Awards & Shows. 
  28. ^ Richard S. Ginell. "Michel Colombier - Wings". AllMusic. 
  29. ^ Frank Hoffmann. Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-hop. Facts on File. pp. 225–226. ISBN 9780816069804. 
  30. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 359. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  31. ^ http://www.giorgiomoroder.com/music/rambo-3/
  32. ^ a b Edwin P. Sallan (May 8, 2014). "Bill Medley, Sonny Turner promise fans the time of their lives in concert". InterAksyon.com. 
  33. ^ The Republican (August 30, 2012). "2012 Big E schedule: Eastern States Exposition". Masslive.com. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Bill Medley announces first ever UK concert at Wembley". indieLondon. 
  35. ^ Wesley Britton (April 9, 2014). "Book Review: 'The Time of My Life' by Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers". Seattle Pi. 
  36. ^ Bill Medley (April 24, 2014). The Time of My Life: A Righteous Brother's Memoir. Da Capo Press. p. 79-90. ISBN 978-0306823169. 
  37. ^ a b Bill Medley (May 17, 2014). "The Righteous Brothers, That Lovin' Feelin'... and why I'll never stop hunting the man who murdered my wife". Daily Mail.  excerpts condensed from Bill Medley's autobiography The Time of My Life
  38. ^ Bill Medley (April 24, 2014). "Chapter 17:Elvis". The Time of My Life: A Righteous Brother's Memoir. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0306823169. 
  39. ^ David Adams (February 17, 2013). "Interview with Bill Medley". Elvis Australia. 
  40. ^ Paul Lester (May 19, 2013). "Bill Medley is still having the time of his life". The Daily Express. 
  41. ^ Erik Ofgang (June 26, 2012). "Bill Medley, voice of Righteous Brothers, in Ridgefield". ctpost. 
  42. ^ Mike Boehm (March 4, 1988). "Grammy Is Another Steppingstone in Long Road Back for Bill Medley". Los Angeles Times. 
  43. ^ a b c "Bill Medley: Awards". AllMusic. 
  44. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 274. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  45. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 594. ISBN 0-89820-188-8. 
  46. ^ "Search". Billboard.  Search for Bill Medley
  47. ^ "Country 50 Singles". RPM Magazine. 
  48. ^ "Country Singles - Volume 42, No. 5". RPM Magazine. April 13, 1985. 
  49. ^ "Top Singles". RPM Magazine. 
  50. ^ "RPM100 Singles: December 12, 1987" (PDF). RPM Magazine. 
  51. ^ "Adult Contemporary". RPM Magazine. 
  52. ^ "Bill Medley: Singles". The Official UK Charts Company. 

External links[edit]