Friday night oldie

A fine slow-dancer. The nuns hated this one . . .

5 responses to “Friday night oldie

  1. One of my favorites. Good thing I went to public school!

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  2. Unchained Melody is more than just a good “slow dancer” to me, Moe. I first heard it in July, 1955 when I was a fresh-caught plebe at Annapolis. It came wafting across the hall that first night over a transistor radio someone had. I was away from home for the first time ever in a permanent and strange way. The next day we were required to send away not only the radios but our civilian clothes and all traces of our former civilian existences. The next time we were to hear any popular music would be on Christmas vacation, 5 months later. Now, more than 50 years later, Unchained Melody still brings back that memory, sharp, poignant and evocative of that first lonely night.

    Even after all these years I wasn’t aware of the song’s actual history. I just looked it up and it has a Wikipedia page (doesn’t everything?), which says (emphasis mine),

    “Unchained Melody” is a 1955 song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. North used the music as a theme for the little-known prison film Unchained, hence the name. Todd Duncan sang the vocals for the film soundtrack. It has since become one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, by some estimates having spawned over 500 versions in hundreds of different languages.
    Les Baxter (Capitol Records catalog number 3055) released an instrumental version which reached #1. Then came song recordings by Al Hibbler (Decca Records #29441), reaching #3 on the Billboard charts; Jimmy Young which hit #1 in the United Kingdom; and Roy Hamilton (Epic Records no. 9102), reaching #1 on the R&B Best Sellers list and #6 on the pop chart.[3] Hundreds of other recordings followed. However, it was the July 1965 version by The Righteous Brothers that became a jukebox standard for the late 20th century, achieving a second round of great popularity when it was featured in the 1990 blockbuster film Ghost.

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