He is a singer-songwriter
and producer born William Thomas Medley in Santa Ana, California, to a musical family where his father was
a saxophonist and led a band and his mother was a pianist and singer. He went to school in Santa Ana where he sang in glee clubs and
Presbyterian choirs and took his further studies at the California State University, Long Beach.
He also entered several amateur talent contests.
university he had his own band called The Paramours but after meeting up
with the singer Bobby Hatfield, who also had his own group, they joined
together in 1962 and became the duo known as The Righteous Brothers. “Little Latin Lupe Lu”,
which he wrote, was their first single release which reached No. 49 in the
US, but in 1964 they got together with the producer Phil Spector who produced their first hit “You’ve
Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” which brought
them attention and stormed to the top of the charts on both sides of the
Atlantic. It has since been
named the most played song on radio in history.
They went on
to have several further No. 1 hit with “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiraton” and other Top 10 hits that include “Ebb
Tide” “Just Once In My Life” and “Unchained Melody”,
which went to No. 1 in the UK in 1990 after being re-released. In total they had in excess of 20
chart hits from 1963 to 1963 to 1992 (including a few re-released songs).
In 1968 he and
Bobby Hatfield went their own separate ways and he released his own Top 50
hits in the US which were Brown Eyed Woman” and “Peace, Brother,
Peace”. He also released
his album Bill Medley 100%. The following year saw his Soft and Soulful and he made an
appearance at the Festival Internacional da Cancao in Rio De Janeiro where he won 2nd place with a
performance of the song “Evie”.
In 1974 he got
back together with Bobby Hatfield and the duo released with the hit song “Rock
and Roll Heaven” which reached No. 3 in the US.
He continued to tour with the Righteous Brothers during the 1970s be
he also released his Lay a Little Lovin’ On Me in 1978. The album had no chart success but the
single release of “Statue of a Fool” scratched the US Country
chart at No. 91 in 1979.
His 1980 Sweet Thunder produced the No. 88 hit
“Don’t Know Much” in 1981 and the following year the
title track from his Right Here and
Now charted on the Billboard Top 100 and Adult Contemporary charts. In
1984 and 1985 he had a further 5 country chart hits in the US and 4 in
Canada’s country chart from the albums from I Still Do and Still Hung
Up On You.
1987 saw him catapulted
back to the top of the pops charts when he recorded “(I’ve Had)
The Time of My Life” with Jennifer Warnes for
the soundtrack of the successful film Dirty
Dancing. It also saw him
and Warnes winning an Academy Award for Best
Original Song and a Grammy Award.
This led to The Best of Bill Medley being
released in 1988 and he has since recorded songs for the soundtracks to the
movies Major League and The Last Boy Scout and the TV series
Cheers where he made an
appearance and Just the Ten Of Us.
In 1993 he
released the album Going Home
which would be his last until the new millennium when his Damn Near Righteous came out in 2007.
1990s and into the 2000s he continued to perform with Bobby Hatfield and in
March 2003 The Righteous Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame by Billy Joel. Sadly
the duo came to an end in November of that year when Bobby died suddenly in
Kalamazoo, Michigan, just half an hour before the duo were due to perform a
Other albums, by
artists outside The Righteous Brothers, he has appeared on as a singer and/or
songwriter include Jimmy Chamberlin’s Life Begins Again where he sang on
the track “Lullabye” along with Tear Off! By The Box Stops, Wings by Michel Colombier,
My Own Way to Rock by Burton
Cummings, From All Dimensions by
The Dimensions, King for a Day by
Mickey Dolenz, Fool for the City by Foghat, Louie Louie/Greatest Hits by The Kingsmen, So Much
Love: A Darlene Love Anthology 1958-1998 by Darlene Love, The Gambler by Kenny Rogers, Plays Love Songs, Vol. 1 by the
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Breakout!!!
By Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, Baby Don’t Go by Sonny & Cher,
Back to Mono (1958-1969) by Phil Spector, Every
Little Bit Hurts by The Spencer Davis Group, The Well by Jennifer Warnes and Slick Chick: R&B Years by Dinah
Washington among numerous others
has performed at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand in Branson, Missouri, where his daughter McKenna Medley also
performed as an opener for The Comets.
His son Darrin has performed as the lead singer of Paul Revere &
The Raiders. A booking at
Wembley Arena for November 2013 is the first concert he ever performed in
The Gambler (D. Schlitz)
United Artists UA-X1250Y (UAST-20122) (US 45)