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IT'S ALIVE: The Righteous Brothers "Unchained Melody" (The Andy Williams Show, 1965)

It's Alive briefly devotes the airwaves to live music everyday at 1pm. Tune in today hear this performance and more live tracks!

The Righteous Brothers released their timeless rendition of “Unchained Melody” on this day in 1965. The song was written 10 years earlier by Alex North with lyrics by Hy Zaret as a theme for the prison film Unchained. On the original soundtrack, the lyrics were performed by opera singer (and Kentucky native) Todd Duncan. It’s one of the most recorded songs of all time, with over 1,500 by over 670 artists around the world. The song even set records in 1955 by having 3 versions in the Billboard Top 10 in the US, and 4 versions in the Top 20 in the UK, all at the same time.

The most lasting version version was released as a B-side to The Righteous Brothers’ single “Hung On You”, and was originally intended to be a throwaway track to fill space. “Hung On You” failed to make an impression on listeners, and DJ’s began to opt for “Unchained Melody”. The song hit number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year, and remained a musical standard. This clip finds them performing the iconic tune on The Andy Williams Show in 1965.

Otis is the late morning host on WFPK. Email Otis at ojunior@lpm.org