1950s EASY-POP Songs and Singers...on the verge of Rock 'n Roll
Unchained Melody top-five hit recorded by Al Hibbler introduced April 9, 1955
Orchestra directed by Jack Pleis
Decca Records # 29441
Music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret
also a top-ten hit recording by Roy Hamilton introduced April 23, 1955 Epic Records # 9102
also recorded by June Valli introduced May 14, 1955 RCA Records #6078
plus a number one instrumental version recorded by Les Baxter introduced April 9, 1955 Capitol Records # 3055
Unchained Melody is one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, by some counts having spawned over 500 versions in hundreds of different languages. In 1955, Alex North used the music as a theme for the obscure prison film 'Unchained', and hence the name: the Unchained Melody. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Todd Duncan sang the vocals for the film soundtrack. Les Baxter released an instrumental version which reached #2. The definitive version of the song was released by blind singer Al Hibbler reaching #3 on the Billboard charts. Al Hibbler was a Duke Ellington vocalist who moved back and forth between jazz, R&B, and pop. The recording of Unchained Melody by Roy Hamilton reached #1 on the R&B Best Sellers list and #6 on the pop chart. A version by Jimmy Young hit #1 on the British charts. Hundreds of other recordings followed. The July, 1965 version by The Righteous Brothers became a jukebox standard for the late 20th century, and it regained massive popularity when used in the 1990 blockbuster film 'Ghost'. Unchained Melody is considered by many as the greatest love song ever written.
Quintessential Fifties lyric:
"Oh, my love, my darling I've hungered for your touch... are you still mine?"