In 1936, songwriter Alex North approached Bing Crosby with the still untitled song. Crosby turned the song down and it remained unrecorded for almost twenty years. In 1955, North and lyricist Hy Zaret were contracted to write a song as a theme for the prison film Unchained, and their song eventually became known as the “Unchained Melody”. The song does not actually include the word “unchained”, and songwriter Zaret chose instead to focus his lyrics on someone who pines for a lover he has not seen in a “long, lonely time”. The 1955 film centers around a man who contemplates either escaping from prison to live life on the run, or completing his sentence and returning to his wife and family. The song has an unusual harmonic device in that the bridge ends on the tonic chord, rather than the more usual dominant.

The best-known version of “Unchained Melody” was recorded by The Righteous Brothers and produced by Phil Spector in 1965 as the ‘B’ side of the single featuring the song, “Hung On You”. Although the version was credited to The Righteous Brothers, it was actually performed as a solo by Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield, who later recorded other versions credited solely to him.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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