Library of Congress Names Righteous Tracks

Library of Congress Names Righteous Tracks
The Library of Congress has just added another 25 sound recordings “recognized for their cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society” to the National Recording Registry. Among them is the 1964 45-RPM single “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by The Righteous Brothers, the ‘blue-eyed soul” duo of Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley. 

In 1964 producer Phil Spector asked the songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for material for the vocal duo he’d just signed to his Phillies Records label. Mann wrote a melody with the feel of a recent Four Tops hit, “Baby I Need Your Loving,” and his wife Cynthia Weil penned lyrics about attempting to rekindle lost love. It was arranged by a young Gene Page, and the lush charts launched his remarkable career.

Phil Spector worked with engineer Larry Levine at LA’s Gold Star Studio to make the recording. Oddly, Spector’s huge “Wall of Sound” came out of Gold Star’s small Studio A, 19 by 24 feet with a 13-foot ceiling and two 2×3-foot cement-lined echo chambers behind the control room. There was two-day session, with three hours of instrumental tracking on day one. The engineer recalled 4 acoustic guitars, 3 differed basses (upright, Fender electric,and Danelectro), 3 pianos, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, 3 saxophones. and drums. Bill Medley remembers the pianos as all different (electric piano, acoustic piano and tack piano), and that a percussionist  adding chimes, bongos, vibes, tambourine and a shaker. They weren’t all in there at the same time, and the overdubs and mic bleed added to the huge mono sound when Levine and Spector mixed the tracks down.

Hatfield and Medley recorded their vocals over this lush mix on day 2 (medley says there was a third day) and backing vocals by The Blossoms were added.

The finished recording was 3 minutes and 50 seconds long, and it was the age of 3 minute singles, so Spector worried that DJs wouldn’t play it on the radio. Levine suggested marking the record timing as 3:05 instead of 3:50 — if anyone noticed they could claim it was a typo, and stations would play it at least once. They did, and it worked.

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Image by Mike Licht; download a copy here. Creative Commons license. Credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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