The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley comes to Newton

| 22 Jul 2014 | 05:46

The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley will perform at the Newton Theatre on Friday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m.

Bill Medley is a seminal figure in the history of American music. He is perhaps best known as half of the unmistakable duo, The Righteous Brothers. In the mid-1960s, the Righteous Brothers became a fixture on Top Forty radio with hits like "You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin," "Just Once in My Life," "Unchained Melody," and "(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration," creating an ultra-dramatic take on 60's pop romance.

Medley always had a passion for music. His father, a sax player, led a big band and his mother played piano and sang. Naturally, Medley gravitated to glee club and amateur singing contests during his youth, but it wasn’t until he heard the music of his idols that the idea of making music for a living seemed feasible.

“When I heard Little Richard,” he reflects, “I knew I wanted to do that. When I heard Ray Charles, I knew I needed to do that.”

When Medley met Bobby Hatfield and they put their voices together, the result was magic.

“We just started singin’ these rhythm and blues duets and it was just absolutely instant,” Medley recalls. “The instant we sang together, it was like one voice.”

Combining Medley’s unmistakable baritone with Hatfield’s forceful tenor and the density of Phil Spector’s “wall of sound” production, the duo defied traditional music labels with air play on both pop and R&B radio stations.

After a string of hits, The Righteous Brothers parted ways from Spector and went on to produce themselves at Verve Records. The first single for their new label was "(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration," which topped the charts for three weeks, one week longer than "You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’."

Their partnership lasted four decades, though Medley explored his solo options apart from the duo on occasion. In 1974 the duo reunited and resumed their hit-making ways with the prophetic Rock and Roll Heaven. In the 70s, their live shows continued to attract fans and gained the respect of a new generation of listeners.

In 1987, Medley scored a monumental hit with another duettist, Jennifer Warnes, on "(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life," for the film Dirty Dancing. The song earned an Oscar, a Golden Globe, Video of The Year, and a Grammy, and the soundtrack became one of the most successful since Saturday Night Fever, selling 14 million copies and once again put Medley at the top of the Billboard charts.

In 1990, the Righteous Brothers’ classic version of "Unchained Melody," appeared in the hit film "Ghost" and ran all the way up the Billboard charts, introducing yet another new generation to the works of The Righteous Brothers.

In 2003 The Righteous Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The induction came just months before Bobby Hatfield’s unexpected death. Medley not only lost his singing partner, he had lost a close friend whom he’d known since his late-teens. After a period of mourning, Medley made the decision to continue touring as a solo artist.

Medley shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, keeping to a rigorous tour schedule so he may share his love of music night after night with all of his loyal fans.

Tickets for Bill Medley are $72 for premium seating, $67 for orchestra and $62 for balcony. Purchase tickets by visiting or contact the box office at 973-383-3700.

The historic Newton Theatre, located at 234 Spring Street in Newton, N.J.