Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield started out as members of The Paramours. In 1962, the two decided to leave the five-member group to form a duo. They found their name at a show with the Paramours when a fan shouted, “That was righteous, brothers!”
Following two moderately successful albums The Righteous Brothers teamed up with music producer Phil Spector to record the single “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” One of the backup singers Spector used in the recording of this song was Cher (who later starred in the duo Sonny & Cher on The Ed Sullivan Show). The single went to number one in 1964. The Righteous Brothers followed up that with several other hit singles in 1965 including, “Just Once in My Life” and “Unchained Melody.” As proof of their success, they were booked to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show.
The Righteous Brothers took the stage on The Ed Sullivan Show, for the first and only time, on November 7, 1965. Medley and Hatfield came out bopping to the beat of their opening song, “Turn on Your Love Light.” The duo showcased their powerful vocals in this upbeat number, alternating lines. Next, they serenaded the audience with the ballad “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel. Although wearing identical suits that evening, the duo demonstrated their differing vocal ranges during the performance of this song. Following the set, the two young men shook hands with Ed, who told them “It’s so darn nice to have you on this show.” They returned at the end of the show to sing a jazzy version of “Yes, Indeed” with Miss Peggy Lee.
The Righteous Brothers continued to record music together until 1968 when Bill Medley decided to pursue a solo career. The two reunited a number of times over the next few decades until 2003, when Bobby Hatfield suddenly died half an hour before a show.
With their mix of rhythm and blues and soul along with their emotive vocal style, The Righteous Brothers will always be remembered as one of the first groups to popularize the genre of “blue-eyed soul.”