"Unchained Melody" is the
only song that my dad has requested for me to sing, since my mom passed into
our Lord God's Kingdom in Heaven, on August 9, 1999.
It's the perfect reflection for the state of my dad's heart.
So, of course, since I began this YouTube journey, dad has continually asked me when I was going to sing "Unchained Melody" for him.
I already knew, from the beginning of this singing adventure, that "Unchained Melody" was going to be dedicated for one of two occasions: my parents' 43rd Wedding Anniversary, or for the 11th year Memorial of my mom's passing into our Lord God's Kingdom in Heaven. Unfortunately, very early in this journey, when my dad had made his request, I had to pretend that I didn't know when I'd get a chance to work on it. Even though, I had already tried several times. My dad is persistent. After several weeks, I had to finally confess that I had been working on his song, but with little success. At first, he couldn't understand why I was having a hard time. I explained that I just couldn't hit those high notes anymore. Yes, the high notes are troublesome, but that was not the root of my disappointment with my efforts. This was another emotional ride for me. The first two times I tried to sing "Unchained Melody", knowing that this was a tribute for my mom and dad, I couldn't get through the song without crying. It was just too difficult. I took a break from my efforts and when I finally came back to it, I was determined to do this well. After several more efforts, I finally found the tenderness I was looking for, without breaking down in the middle of the song. My rendition of The Righteous Brothers' version of "Unchained Melody" is accompanied by incredible memories of my mom and my dad. This has become another emotionally draining and heart-wrenching project for me. I hope that you can feel the anguish I struggled to control as I used the depths of my will to get through my rendition of "Unchained Melody". Thus, it was inevitable that this tribute is presented for my parents' 43rd Wedding Anniversary. Otherwise, I would have never heard the end of it. Right, dad? And, I wouldn't have it any other way ...
"Unchained Melody" is a 1955 popular song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. Rerecorded in 1965, it became 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, North used the music as a theme for the obscure prison film Unchained, hence the name. Todd Duncan sang the vocals for the film soundtrack. Les Baxter, released an instrumental version which reached #2. Then song recordings were released by Al Hibbler, reaching #3 on the Billboard charts, Jimmy Young which hit #1 on the British charts, and Roy Hamilton, reaching #1 on the R&B Best Sellers list and #6 on the pop chart. Hundreds of other recordings followed. It was the July 1965 version by The Righteous Brothers that became a jukebox standard for the late 20th century, regaining massive popularity when used in the 1990 blockbuster film Ghost.
In 1955, Alex North and lyricist Hy Zaret were contracted to write a song as a theme for the obscure prison film Unchained, and their song eventually became known as the "Unchained Melody". The song doesn't actually include the word "unchained", and songwriter Zaret chose instead to focus his lyrics on someone who pines for a lover he hasn't 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 lyrics note, "Lonely rivers sigh, ' Wait for me... I'll be coming home; wait for me'...". Unable to see them for years, he pleas, "I need your love, God speed your love to me". With Todd Duncan singing the vocals, the song was nominated for an Oscar in 1955, but the Best-Song award went to the rival hit song "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing".
Ricky Nelson, The Supremes, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Cyndi Lauper, Barry Manilow, U2, Christian Singer David Phelps, and The Smashing Pumpkins, all did covers. Gareth Gates recorded a cover version following his appearance on Pop Idol in the United Kingdom.