Meaning of Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers

Even if the name of the composition discussed below seems unfamiliar to you, you could not help but hear it. At least you know this song from the soundtrack to the film “Ghost» (Ghost) with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, although for the first time it sounded in another motion picture.

Over the long and glorious history of Unchained Melody, almost seven hundred performers have released their versions of the work. In 1955, when it was first introduced to the public, three covers hit the top ten of Billboard at once, and four more appeared in the top twenty of the British singles chart. In the twenty-first century, it continues to pop up in the charts.

History and meaning of the song Unchained Melody

In 1955, director Hall Bartlett undertook to film the novel Prisoners are People. He called the drama Unchained (“On the Loose”). This is a story about a guy who is serving time behind bars and thinks whether he can sit quietly in prison, or run away to his beloved wife.

To work on the music for the film, Bartlett invited composer Alex North (Alex North). When it came to the theme song, North composed the melody and asked lyricist Hy Zaret to write the lyrics. The famous songwriter initially refused, claiming that he was too busy painting the house, but he was persuaded.

The director failed to get Zaret to include the word unchained in the lyrics. The poet agreed only to name it Unchained Melody.

In the movie “On the Loose” it is sung by Todd Duncan, who plays one of the minor characters. The soundtrack also includes an orchestral version of Unchained Melody.

Unchained Melody was nominated for an Oscar in 1955, but the Best Song award went to Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.

Early Unchained Melody covers

The first covers were recorded immediately after the release of the film Unchained. In the same 1955, tracks by Les Baxter, Al Hibbler, Roy Hamilton and other artists became major hits.

Their versions have climbed high on the US and/or UK charts, won prestigious awards and sold huge copies.

Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers

The Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody

The most popular version of the song was recorded by The Righteous Brothers under the direction of producer Phil Medley at Philles Records.

On July 17, 1965, the track was released on the back of the single Hung on You, but it was Unchained Melody that the DJs liked. It is said that Phil Spector, the owner of Philles Records, even called radio stations demanding that Hung on You be played, but his requests were not heeded.

Unchained Melody stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 for three months, and then peaked at number four.

In 1990, she sounded in the film “Ghost”, after which the song again entered the charts. The Righteous Brothers re-recorded the song and the new version also charted. It was the first time in the history of music that two versions of a track performed by the same band were on the charts at the same time.

Other versions of Unchained Melody

It is hardly possible to list all the covers within the framework of this article. Let’s take a look at a few memorable stories.

In 1995 it became a hit Unchained Melody performed by Robson & Jerome. It topped the UK charts and sold almost two million copies.

In 2002, Gareth Gates’ cover of Unchained Melody reached number one in the UK. A video clip was shot for the song.


Here is a summary of the Unchained Melody awards by The Righteous Brothers:

  • 1991 – Grammy nomination.
  • 2000 – The original version is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
  • 2001 – 138th on the Recording Industry Association of America’s “Songs of the Century” list.
  • 2004 – 365th place in the ranking of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” – Rolling Stone.

The composition is also included in several other lists of the best musical compositions.

Interesting Facts

  • Over the years, William Stirrat has tried unsuccessfully to prove that he wrote Unchained Melody.
  • Bobby Hatfield and Phil Medley tossed a coin to decide who would sing Unchained Melody. Bobby won.
  • Unchained Melody by Vito & the Salutations, recorded in 1963 in the style of doo-wop, sounds on the soundtrack to the film Goodfellas.

Unchained Melody lyrics

Oh my love my darling
I’ve hungered for your touch
A long, lonely time
And time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much
Are you still mine?
I need your love
I need your love
God speed your love to me

Lonely rivers flow
To the sea, to the sea
To the open arms of the sea
Lonely rivers sigh
“Wait for me, wait for me”
I’ll be coming home, wait for me

Chorus 1

Lyrics: Alex North

Unchained Melody lyrics

Oh my love, my dear
I’m hungry for your touch.
I’ve been alone for a long time
And time goes by so slowly
And time can do a lot.
Are you still mine?
I need your Love,
I need your Love,
May God send me your love soon.

Lonely rivers flow
In the sea, in the sea
Into the open arms of the sea
Lonely rivers sigh
“Wait for me, wait for me.”
I’ll be back home, wait for me.

Chorus 1

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