About The Song
Thanks to Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and a pottery wheel, a quarter-century old classic was re-introduced to the hearts of radio listeners and record buyers in 1990. When Bobby Hatfield belted out “Unchained Melody” in that famous scene from the movie Ghost, it wasn’t the first time the public heard the song. It wasn’t even the first time they’d heard that version.
By some counts, the song has been recorded over 500 times, making it one of the most recorded of the 20th century. However, the one that has become the best known is the 1965 recording by the Righteous Brothers (although technically a solo performance by Bobby Hatfield). WK “With Phil Spector’s epic production and Hatfield’s emotion-packed tenor soaring to stratospheric heights, it’s a record designed to reduce anyone separated from the one they love to ‘a pile of mush.’”
The song first surfaced under the Righteous Brothers moniker in 1965 as a B-side to their single “Hung on You.” When DJs took to “Melody” instead, the song climbed to #4 on the U.S. pop charts and #14 in the U.K. A quarter century later, it re-gained airplay thanks to Ghost, but was only commercially available as a single in a newly recorded version. In an unsual occurrence, both versions charted and hit the U.S. top 20. On the AC charts, the 1990 version went #1, while the 1965 version scaled to the top of the U.K. charts.
The song originated in an obscure prison film called Unchained in 1955. Todd Duncan sang it for the film, but Les Baxter took it to the top of the Billboard charts. Roy Hamilton and Al Hibbler each topped the R&B charts with the song. In the U.K., Jimmy Young took it to #1. All told, the song can make the unique claim of topping four different charts with five different versions in three different decades.
Woah, my love, my darlingI’ve hungered for your touch A long, lonely time And time goes by so slowly And time can do so much Are you still mine? I need your love I need your love God speed your love to meLonely rivers flowTo the sea, to the sea To the open arms of the sea, yeah Lonely rivers sigh “Wait for me, wait for me” I’ll be coming home, wait for meWoah, my love, my darlingI’ve hungered, hungered for your touch A long, lonely time And time goes by so slowly And time can do so much Are you still mine? I need your love I need your love God speed your love to me