Let’s Take A Moment Day 187

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Jane Austen Music Quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Today is the 80th birthday for a man who has one of the most recognizable bass baritone voices in music, Bill Medley. Born William Thomas Medley in California on September 19, 1940, he started singing in the choir of his Presbyterian church. He was influenced by his parent’s love of swing music as well as artists like Little Richard, Bobby Bland, B.B. King and Ray Charles. Medley met tenor Bobby Hatfield in the early 1960’s when they were in a group called The Paramours. Medley wrote a song that he decided to record just with Hatfield, 1962’s “Little Latin Lupe Lu” for a girl Medley briefly dated. The two men chose the name of their duo after a group of black Marines referred to the duo’s singing voices as “righteous”.

The two men soon began to garner local exposure on the west coast. By the summer of 1964 they opened for The Beatles on their first U.S. tour, made an appearance on the TV show, “Shindig” and then opened for The Rolling Stones American tour in the fall. But it was the duo’s encounter with famed produced Phil Spector at a concert that same year that would change both their careers and their lives. He made a deal with the duo’s label, Moonglow Records, to let him release music under his company, Philles Records. The first song is today’s pick and catapulted the duo to worldwide success. Other hits followed including “(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration” and two others with only Hatfield on vocals, “Unchained Melody” (which remarkably enough was a B-side to “Hung On You”) and “Ebb Tide”.

By 1966 the duo signed with a new label, Verve/MGM, leading Spector to file a lawsuit against the men that was eventually settled. By 1968 the duo broke up but reunited in 1974 and released the top ten hit “Rock & Roll Heaven”. The hits waned after that but the duo’s sound remained part of the mainstream, including Medley’s duet with Jennifer Warnes, “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” from the movie, “Dirty Dancing” and the feature of their song, “Unchained Melody”, in the 1990 film, “Ghost”. Hatfield died in 2003 and Medley recruited singer Bucky Heard to sing the duos songs with him beginning in 2016.

Medley wrote his autobiography, “The Time Of My Life: A Righteous Brother’s Memoir” in 2014.. He said in an interview that today’s song is the most played record in the history of American radio which BMI confirmed in 1999. It is also the best example of Spector’s iconic “Wall Of Sound” production technique. For me, it is simply a gorgeous track with two of the best vocals ever recorded.

Now there’s no welcome look in your eyes when I reach for you
And now you’re starting to criticize little things I do
It makes me just feel like crying
‘Cause baby, something beautiful’s dyin’
“.

Righteous 1

ther ighteous brothers

Bobby Hatfield (L) and Bill Medley (R) as The Righteous Brothers circa 1964 (top) and in 2003 at their induction into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame (bottom). ((Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Righteous Brothers: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin‘” (1964, written by Barry Mann, Phil Spector & Cynthia Weil).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 173

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Bruce quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

There was an endless array of music available in the mid 1960’s.  There were bands that were part of the the British Invasion, groups from Motown, folk artists which translated into singer/songwriters and good old pop acts.  There was also a group that was just pure soul rock and that was Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels.  Ryder, born William Levise, Jr., with his unbelievable ability to encompass blue eyed soul in his rough bellowing signature voice, is undoubtedly one of the best soul rock singers ever.  

He started singing when he was a teenager, greatly influenced by his father, also a musician.  He was the lead singer of two bands in high school and it was the second one that eventually became The Detroit Wheels: lead guitarist Jim McCarty, rhythm guitarist Joe Kubert, bassist Earl Elliot and drummer Johnny Badanjek.  Together they had several hits between 1964-1967 including “Jenny Take a Ride”, “Little Latin Lupe Lu”, “Sock It to Me, Baby!” and today’s song before Ryder left for a solo career.  Unfortunately neither he nor the band achieved the success alone they did as a group.  But together they were a force to be reckoned with.    

Ryder also has the distinction of being the last person to ever sing with Otis Redding.  The two men closed a local Cleveland TV show together with a performance of “Knock On Wood” on December 9, 1967.  It was the next day that Redding, four members of his band, The Bar Kays & their valet died in a plane crash with the pilot. 

I discovered Ryder through-who else, Bruce Springsteen-when I bought the “No Nukes” concert album in 1979 and heard his cover of what he named the “Detroit Medley”.  It included parts of today’s pick plus two other songs, “C.C. Rider” & “Jenny Take A Ride” before seguing back to the first song to close it out.  This performance, however, was not included in the movie as the powers that be chose three other Springsteen performances for the film:  “The River”, “Thunder Road” & his cover of Gary U.S. Bonds’ 1961 hit, “Quarter To Three”.  But because of Bruce I discovered Ryder & The Wheels which is yet another reason why I love The Boss.   

Wearin’ her perfume, Chanel No. 5
Got to be the finest thing alive
Walks real cool, catches everybody’s eye
Catch you too nervous and you can’t say hi“.  

Ryder The Wheels
Mitch Ryder (center) with The Detroit Wheels circa 1964.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels:  “Devil With A Blue Dress On/ Good Golly Miss Molly” ( 1966, “Devil With A Blue Dress” written by Frederick “Shorty Long and William “Mickey” Stevenson circa 1964 and “Good Golly” written by John Marascalco and Robert “Bump” Blackwell circa 1955).   

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how am coping with you.

Stay well.