“Sometimes people with blue eyes transcended the limitations of what their color and culture can actually be,” Joel said. “Sometimes white people can actually be soulful. This was a life-changing idea. It changed my life.” Robert Lee Hatfield was born Aug. 10, 1940, in Beaver Dam, Wis. His family moved to Anaheim, Calif., when he was 4. Hatfield organized singing and instrumental groups in high school while helping his parents with their dry cleaning business.
An avid athlete, Hatfield considered a career in professional baseball, but found his true calling in music – a love he pursued while attending Long Beach State University, where he formed a band and performed at bars and proms.
Hatfield teamed up with Medley in 1962 as part of a five-piece group called The Paramours. According to the Righteous Brothers Web site, a black Marine called out during one of their performances, “That was righteous, brothers!”
They renamed themselves the Righteous Brothers before the release of their first album in 1963.
“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” produced by Phil Spector in his trademark “wall-of-sound” fashion, was released months after British rock ‘n’ roll was beginning to dominate U.S. record charts and airwaves.
“We had no idea if it would be a hit,” Medley once said. “It was too slow, too long and right in the middle of the Beatles and the British Invasion.”
The performing rights organization BMI, however, has tallied about 8 million radio plays of the song.
After splitting up in 1968, the duo reunited in 1974 and returned to the top of the charts with “Rock and Roll Heaven.” They performed sporadically, then went through another career revival in 1982.
Hatfield and Medley in later years routinely went on the road for 60 to 80 shows a year in addition to 12-week stints in Las Vegas, where they had found work as a lounge act during the dawn of their careers in 1962. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/ns/bobby-hatfield-obituary/1575623#sthash.cUbPJh1D.dpuf
- August, 10, 1940
- Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
- November, 05, 2003
- Kalamazoo, Michigan
Cause of Death
- overdose of cocaine had precipitated a fatal heart attack
- Pacific View Memorial Park
- Corona del Mar, California