The Real Hatfield

Sorry, McCoy. You lost this family feud.

Many people annually strive to become better human beings when the new year rolls around, but you can bet that one of The Nest’s resolutions wasn’t to quit skewering the shitty songs that everyone seems to like except me.  Welcome to the first entry of 2018 in our Top 30 Iconic Songs I Can’t Stand countdown!  We’re up to unsweet little sixteen this week, and our three horsemen (and horsewomen) of the musical apocalypse are ready to offer up another piece of vinyl garbage you probably love for earworm martyrdom.  Let’s get that stake nice and hot…

#16. “Unchained Melody” – The Righteous Brothers

The year was 1955, and Bill North was asked to pen the theme to a forgettable prison drama film called Unchained.  He went to his buddy Hy Zaret (That has to be an alias) for help in writing the lyrics to his song.  Rather than creating a music ode to dropping the soap, Zaret focused on the separated lovers aspect of the movie instead… and flat out refused to incorporate the title of the movie into his poem.  Lacking a real title, the movie theme simply became known as the Unchained Melody.  For some reason or another, just about every artist alive in the 50’s decided to record their own version of it…

Including Liberace. Yes, THE Liberace.

But you don’t remember the Liberace version, or the Al Hibbler version, or the Les Baxter version, or probably even the Ed Norton version.  No, you know this as a Righteous Brothers song… and that’s because their 1965 cover of “Unchained Melody” was one of the biggest B-side smash hits in pop music history.  Sing along, you know the words…

Righteous Brothers members Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield normally performed as a vocal duo, but would each perform one solo on every album they released.  When it came time to create the 1965 album Just Once In My Life, both members wanted to be the one to belt out that old time prison love song on it.  They settled things the same way Ritchie Valens and Tommy Allsup did…. with a coin toss.  Hatfield won.

I hope your plane crashes!

The results were just as tragic as on that fateful February evening in Iowa.  I like some Righteous Brothers songs… and do you know what they all have in common?  The vocals are all dominated by Bill Medley.  Great voice… nicely balances out the castrated falsetto that is sometimes allowed to sing a few of the lines.  If you can’t tell… I absolutely loathe Bobby Hatfield’s singing, and he’s the only one you hear on this goddamn piece of schmaltzy fucking garbage that has become one of the most popular songs of all time!  If there’s a Rock and Roll Hell, well you know they’ve got Bobby Hatfield singing nonstop on the PA down there…

And they probably play this during the commercial breaks (Gratuitously re-used just to annoy Draliman)

While this version of “Unchained Melody” was always a classic hit, I can probably also blame Patrick Swayze and the 1990 movie Ghost for turning it into something legendary…. but that’s OK, because I don’t think much of either actor nor movie as well.  Swayze should have stopped at just making Bill Medley relevant again in the 80’s in his other well known film…

IIIIIIIII had the time of my life!!! No, I never felt this way before!

15 horrible songs down, 15 even more horrible ones to go!  We’re halfway through this countdown of anti-earworms!  I’ll be back next Wednesday to godspeed you another song that lost that loving feeling…


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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34 Responses to The Real Hatfield

  1. crimsonowl63 says:

    This song is awful. I didn’t want to see Ghost either! It was probably just as bad. What’s hilarious is I am watching a very cheesy SciFi movie and I love this. It is funny though. I LOVED the title of the post and pic of Bones.
    Oh yeah, the music. I just can’t stand how fake dramatic it sounds. All around yuck. Maybe I like another of their songs, don’t know.

    • I really do like a few of their other songs. You Lost That Lovin Feeling is classic (Hall & Oates did a great cover of it too), and Rock & Roll Heaven is pure cheese, but it’s ear candy to me. This one though…… I’d be happy to never hear it again.

  2. fanrosa says:

    Huh. I’ve sometimes idly wondered why it was called Unchained Melody. That I didn’t know until now shows how much I think of the song. It’s okay (especially Liberace’s version) but I think I liked it better before all of the amateur singing talent shows. Now I mostly tolerate it.

    Thanks, Simon….

  3. franhunne4u says:

    Schmaltz does not even begin to cover it … *bleurgh*

  4. Merbear74 says:

    I like this song as much as I’d love a broken heated toilet seat…

  5. Ladybuggz says:

    Way over played…. the only time I liked it Was in Ghost…. any other time it sucked!

  6. Thomas Bonafede says:

    Well, we don’t agree here…although I am not violently offended by your opinion of this either. It did make my “Top 350” all-time list, but at #333 (No I didn’t know that by heart, I had to look it up). It has tarnished to my ears somewhat with its ubiquity, especially, as someone else posted, with its constant presence on TV “talent” competitions. Speaking of which, to veer off topic here, I see that not only is American Idol returning (to the demand of, thousands…er, some lady in Idaho), but Fox, who retired Idol just a couple of seasons ago, felt it was a good idea to combat its old property by creating yet another singing throwdown. We’re one step away from “So You Think Your Dog Can Sing”…

    • Debbie says:

      That was one of Dad’s favorite songs. So of course it made me cry.

    • I thought for some reason you had it ranked higher. I just looked up next week’s song, and was surprised you didn’t have it ranked at all… so I guess even in this new year I won’t be overly offending your tastes. There are only a couple classic rock songs left, and I shockingly found out that the one in the Top 10 that I was SO sure had to be on the Boney list isn’t there either! Maybe the rest of this countdown won’t be so bad for you after all…

  7. Quirky Girl says:

    Aw, man! I actually kinda, sorta like this one… 😀

  8. No, I don’t like that one either. I’m not that crazy about anything they did. I was never a fan.

  9. This is a song I actually know. I mean, who doesn’t? I never really “got it.” Everyone sang it and the Righteous Brothers probably got a gold record from it, but i never figured out why. Sometimes, I get it. it’s the beat or it’s extremely catchy and fun to sing. But this one? Never figured it out. But it sure was popular.

    • They actually got a few gold records from it since they re-recorded and re-released it in 1990 after it appeared in “Ghost”, and THAT version did quite well too. It was originally released as a B-side, and Phil Spector was livid that DJ’s only wanted to play it instead of the main hit on the single….. until it became such a smash hit that Spector changed his mind about the tune and stole production credit from Bill Medley for it. Behind that wall of sound is an asshole with bad hair…

  10. By the time I’d heard this one for the bazillionth time I was truly SICK of it……I know it was popular and I know it was special for a lot of people (at the time) but I wasn’t one of them. The diversity of the “Brothers” voices just didn’t work in this song. I can remember a whole lot of my friends said this was their favorite “slow dance” song way back when….. BUT…….the screeching followed by bellowing – nope. Not for me.


    • You can make a case that Medley’s and Hatfield’s vastly different voices worked in some way when they sang together on a song…. but Hatfield’s just awful on his own. He’s the Art Garfunkel of that duo who had no business ever getting behind a microphone (And now I wonder why I didn’t include “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in this countdown!)

  11. Ok, confession time. It was one of my all time favorites back in the day. I swooned whenever I hear the rich baritone voice of Medley and simultaneously wondered what knothole Hatfield was being yanked through to get his sound. But the overplay…ruined a perfectly good song. Ugh.

  12. Over playing and every man and his dog doing a cover version, and then karaoke nights where people think they can sing it…. Sheesh. Yeah, if this song is never played again it’ll be too soon!

  13. draliman says:

    Classic song, that.
    I do enjoy that picture of Alyans. Such a great difference between the two chaps. I definitely didn’t buy their album and certainly didn’t listen to it three times yesterday at work. No sir, not me.

  14. I’ve heard so much shitty music at the roller rink over the past dozen years that I forgot all about this one. Yes, it is overplayed and overplayed and overplayed and … good choice ES.

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