Thursday, January 3, 2008
Soul & Inspiration, The Righteous Brothers (1966)
In inducting The Righteous Brothers into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, Billy Joel said, "Sometimes people with blue eyes transcended the limitations of what their color and culture can actually be. Sometimes white people can actually be soulful. This was a life changing idea. It changed my life."
Blue-eyed soul was never more on display than in this stunning ballad, which showcased the best of the otherworldly vocal talents of baritone Bill Medley and tenor Bobby Hatfield as well as the songwriting muscle of the Brill Building's Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Originally associated with Phil Spector, the Righteous Brothers parted the ways after You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling, and Medley produced this song himself, neatly replicating Spector's signature "Wall of Sound."
Of the two hits, I always found Soul & Inspiration to be more soul-stirring; its goose-flesh quotient is much higher and it never fails to whisk me back to that time in my life. The song actually topped the charts for three weeks, a week longer than You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling did. It was always an occasion when they appeared on Shindig, where they were a fixture, as well as Hullabaloo and Where The Action Is.
They were a marvel then, and now.