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Episode 55

Righteous Brothers & Making Music History featuring Bill Medley

Episode  55
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Bill Medley’s iconic baritone voice has woven a path across almost 60 years of music history. We never close our ears when we hear that voice intone the opening line, “You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips.” You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling is the most played song in radio history. Bill shares similarly tender moments from his life with us including his unique friendships with The Beatles, The Stones, Elvis, Phil Spector and his partner Bobby Hatfield. Plus, Fritz and Weezy are recommending Picture a Scientist, News of the World and Bill Medley’s Book, The Time of My Life.

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Fritz Coleman (00:00:04):

Welcome to Media Path. I'm Fritz Coleman.

Louise Palanker (00:00:06):

And I'm Louise Palanker.

Fritz Coleman (00:00:07):

You know, Louis and I are constantly shaking the bushes on either side of the media path, hoping some interesting new content will fall out, so we can pass it along to you. And then the most important thing is we get to talk to amazing guests like we're gonna do today with the one and only Bill Medley, the base baritone voice of the Gods, and a producer who, with Bobby Hatfield, made up the Righteous Brothers, one of the most successful groups in the history of rock and roll. I can't wait to talk to this nice man, bill Medley. But first we see what do you have for us?

Louise Palanker (00:00:41):

Well, I've been, um, looking around <laugh>, I stream. Did you see the news of the world? Uh, you don't have to buy it anymore, you can rent it, right?

Fritz Coleman (00:00:51):

<laugh>? That's

Louise Palanker (00:00:51):

Right. Yeah. You, I, you, I wait for that moment, you know, for the rental to kick in, uh, news of the world. Tom Hanks. So, you know, Tom Hanks, he doesn't make bad movies. This is his solemn vow to us. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So it's like, it should really just, every movie should just be titled The new Tom Hanks. And people would go. So the news of the world is now streaming. It takes place. Five years after the end of the Civil War, as Captain Jefferson, Kyle Kidd played by Tom Hanks earns his living by traveling from town to town to read from newspapers. This was a big event in the town. It was like the Righteous Brothers had come, you know, they were like, everybody go down to the town hall. The, the guy's about to read from a newspaper. All right. So, uh, the folks would gather on route.


Tom Hanks' character crosses path with a 10 year old girl who has been taken by the Cawa people. The CAOs are being forced, marched to reservation, and Captain Kid agrees to take the child to her aunt and uncle with no common language. Together, they travel across the harsh and unforgiving Texas planes fighting for their very survival and learning about themselves through each other. And like any Tom Hanks movie, it's beautiful. It's gripping, it's meaningful. The child is played wonderfully by Helena Neel. I'm sure that she's gonna correct me on the pronunciation of her name at the age of 10, who is from Germany, which gives her a unique accent when Tom Hanks is teaching her the English words. It's just a really fun film. I highly recommend it.

Fritz Coleman (00:02:10):

I saw that show, and I wondered, and, and what I wondered about is, was that like the CNN of the Prairie? Yes. Did they actually have guys that would walk around reading snippets from the newspaper to, to interested people? Apparently so

Louise Palanker (00:02:23):

Think a living, doing it. And what was great about the Tom Hank's character was that he wouldn't just read the news. He would engage with people. And if people were upset about the news they were hearing, he would, he would turn it into a healthy conversation rather than this sort of vitriolic year. Right. I'm wrong, kind of thing. You know, he would

Fritz Coleman (00:02:40):

Interactive communication.

Louise Palanker (00:02:41):

Yeah. With the news. As his, as his anchor, he would get people to better understand each other. I

Fritz Coleman (00:02:47):

Really was really cool. I love that film. Yeah. Glad you brought it up. This is called Picture A Scientist. It was broadcast on PBS Nova in April, and now streams on Netflix Wheezy. I think he would really find this an interesting film. Yep. It's about women in the workplace, specifically women in STEM fields, science, technology, engineering, and math. And I wanted to watch this because my daughter's studying to be a psychologist, and, uh, it just caught my eye. A and female scientists are still in the minority and female scientists suffer everything from brutal harassment, like unwanted sexual advances, all the way down to very subtle things like being left off an email list, kind of a passive aggressive victimization. There. The film follows three prominent female scientists and their very personal stories. Biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Rachel Burkes. Rachel's also African American. She goes deep into the racial biases in science as well. It's pretty eye-opening. And geologist Jane Willin bring, these are top scientists at top universities, like m i t, and they still have the same problems we have in the rest of American life. The film wraps up with ways that each of these women have helped to make science more diverse and equitable for all. Interesting movie

Louise Palanker (00:04:01):

I In Do It. You have sold me <laugh> this weekend. I read a book called The Time of My Life by a Bill Medley. Is this sounding at all familiar? <laugh>, uh, with input from Bill's friends, romantic interest and coworkers, bill gives us an unvarnished look at his triumphs and tragedies as he carves an illustrious path. Through five decades of show biz history, bill opens up about the great African American music that inspired him, his loving and complicated relationship with Bobby Hatfield, the murder of his first wife, Karen, and his struggle to raise their son Darren alone, his close relationship with Elvis, the devastation of losing his voice and how he reclaimed it. His smash duet with Jennifer Warrens on. I've had the time of my life how he broke a lot of hearts. Darlene love Mary Wilson. Connie Stevens, among them to settle down at Long last with his lovely wife, Paula. This book is a page turner. I absolutely loved it, highly recommend it.

Fritz Coleman (00:04:57):

Great guy, Russell. I

Louise Palanker (00:04:58):

Think you should introduce him.

Fritz Coleman (00:04:59):

I'm gonna do that right now. We're, we're very excited to have a chance to visit with this man. He's got that huge bottom voice, one half of the Righteous Brothers. I used to turn up the bass on my car, radio, and his voice would vibrate the windshield lovers <laugh>. They delivered some of the most iconic songs of the 20th century. You lost that Love and Feeling, which still holds the record for being the most played song in the history of modern radio. Also unchanged melody, soul and inspiration, the time of my life. Rock and Roll Heaven. He wrote and produced hits for not only the Righteous Brothers, but other acts. He composed and produced music for television and movies. Still an accomplished solo career, and were learning of late that the Righteous Brothers will live on in, uh, various venues, including Las Vegas. Let's talk about it with Bill Medley. Bill, so nice to talk to you.

Bill Medley (00:05:51):

Nice to talk to you. Good to

Fritz Coleman (00:05:52):

See you. Good to see you, my friend. I, I had a chance to meet you and see you a few years ago at the Lewis Family Theater in Rancho Cucamonga. You did your One man show, which is a really wonderful retrospective personal anecdotes about the early years of rock and roll, the Beatles and Elvis, and you performed with your daughter McKenna. And, um, I'm so happy to hear that, uh, that, that she's doing well. She occasionally opens or sings along with you and you're, you're keeping on, keeping on great news.

Bill Medley (00:06:25):

Well, listen, uh, I'm, I'm 80 years old and I'm just thrilled to death to still be in the circle. I can <laugh>. I can't believe I'm, uh, here at 80 years old doing, doing songs that, uh, I recorded when I was 23.

Louise Palanker (00:06:40):

Well, I wanna take you back to the, the moment when you were in the recording studio, uh, with, uh, love and Feeling, because you described some dynamics in place that were not perhaps productive, that were, that were going on. Can you sort of tell the story about the recording of that song?

Bill Medley (00:06:56):

Well, uh, you've lost that 11 feeling was, uh, written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Wild, great, great writers and, uh, Phil Specter produced, uh, you've lost that loving feeling. And, uh, it was pretty odd because Bobby and I from, uh, you know, like 62 to 65, we just did nothing but rhythm and blues, rock and roll and, uh ha. Which wasn't a commercial thing to do. So we, we were, uh, like rhythm and blue singers, and, and a lot of people thought we were, we were black and, uh, color television kind of destroyed our career <laugh>. But, uh, uh, yeah, when we met with, uh, Phil Barry Mann and Phil at the hotel, and they sang the song to us, and they got done, I, I said, wow, what a great song for the Everly Brothers <laugh>. And, uh, and, and I was being honest. I couldn't believe that they, you know, that Phil Specter had called Barry and Cynthia and said, I'm gonna produce the Righteous Brothers.


And we were just shocked that they gave us this song. And that was, uh, kind of not what we were doing. And, and when they played it for us, they, they had Phil and Barry man had high kind of thin tenor voices. And, uh, so when they started teaching it, it to Bobby and I, I c I had, it was too high for me. I couldn't get up to that. You lost that luck. I couldn't get up there mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So they would lower it, and they were doing it real fast. It was almost like a, a bordering on being a dancer. You never close your eyes anymore. Well, you know, more bouncing. Well, they lowered it, and every time they would lower it, Phil Specter would slow it down. Ah, finally we got you Never closure in a whole different kind of song.

Louise Palanker (00:08:59):

Yeah. And it's so iconic with your voice kicking in that opening line. It's just like, people know what the second they hear the first note, they know what's about to happen. But I, but I, I was wondering if you could retell the story about all the people that thought that they could hang out with you while you were recording your vocals <laugh>, and how distracting that is for an artist.

Bill Medley (00:09:17):

Yeah, it's very distracting because sometimes there's stuff going on in the booth, le laughing and chatting and, and, you know, I think there was a couple of the Rolling Stones were there. And, and every producer in town, Phil, Phil, would let, uh, everybody come in to watch us, uh, or watch all of his artists put their voice on the track, but he wouldn't let anybody in, uh, to watch him how he, uh, uh, did the track.

Louise Palanker (00:09:48):


Bill Medley (00:09:48):

Uh, which was pretty amazing. And, uh, so it just got real tough. I mean, we sang for two or three hours, and Phil, it was kind of Phil Inspector's party, you know? And finally we, we just called Phil out to, uh, to the studio and said, listen, man, uh, uh, that's too distracting. We'll be back tomorrow at six and, uh, and we'll put our voice on, uh, at that point. And, uh, and he was fine with it, he understood. And then we said, please don't have anybody in the studio. It's very, it's remarkably distracting. You guys would know that. I mean,

Louise Palanker (00:10:29):

Yeah, you kicked out the Rolling Stones, which is awesome. <laugh>

Bill Medley (00:10:33):


Louise Palanker (00:10:33):

Yeah, you guys need to leave.

Bill Medley (00:10:34):

They, they, I mean, we went on the first, uh, rolling Stone tour

Louise Palanker (00:10:39):


Bill Medley (00:10:40):

America Tour. So they were kind of friends. So that's why I think Keith, Keith and, and Mick came to the studio, which was very nice. It was great to have all those wonderful people, but, uh, just a little distracting. And the song is such a heavy song, uh, that, and Phil was, uh, he really knew what he wanted, so he didn't settle for anything. He would have you do it again and again and again. And it wasn't like recording today. It was, you know, I think it was probably two or three track. So every time you would do, you lost, had love and Feet one time. Well, if you wanted to redo it, you were erasing what you had. Okay. So it was, uh, and we weren't used to that. You know, we were, we were used to doing rhythm and blues and just stuff that we were familiar with. And, uh, this was a whole different, uh, a whole different animal. But it were, obviously, it worked out great.

Fritz Coleman (00:11:42):

We were talking to some guys from the wrecking crew Yeah. Who said that he was a slave driver, particularly with the session players. And he'd get them to play over and over and over again, and then they would hit a sweet spot. They got so tired that they didn't care about what they were doing, and that's when their playing was the best. And it was usually the last or second to last take hours into them being there and playing in the session. Did he do that with singers as well? Sounds like he did.

Bill Medley (00:12:08):

Yeah. I mean, I think we, over the couple of days, uh, we probably probably spent 12 hours putting the voice, the vocals on that. And, uh, but, uh, yeah, the poor <laugh>, the poor, poor wrecking crew, I mean, they, first off they had three or four guitars, so he would listen just to the guitars and, and, and mix, uh, the, uh, synthesizer, you know, like a synthesizer, uh, where you would mix the strings in with the piano and this. So he would mix those four guitars, uh, and they would just, Jean, I mean, for hours, <laugh>, and these were great, great, great, uh, musicians, Glenn Campbell and, and mm-hmm. Just the best musicians in the world. And once he would catch, get that, then he would go to the Four Pianos, or three Pianos and, and mix that. Then he would go to, to, to drums and this and that. And, and what you have to understand is that there was probably about, I don't know, 12 to 18 guys in, in this one studio. And, uh, and it was two or three track machine. And so by the time he finished and when he said, okay, guys, that's it, we're done. It was totally mixed with the eq, uh, verb and all that stuff. So he was a, he was a very brilliant guy.

Louise Palanker (00:13:49):

It's kinda like he was playing people, like he was playing you as his instrument. And, and, and he, and he didn't really care a lot about how people felt within all of that. And it seems like he would do things to pit you and Bobby against each other, and that he had his own agenda and it didn't really matter what other people wanted. And he liked the idea of having all these girl groups, because then he got to say, it's a Phil Spector record, and no one really knew the names of any of those girls, but you guys were really breaking out. And then he tried to pit you against each other by giving Bobby an extra solo or whatever. Um, talk about that a little bit.

Bill Medley (00:14:27):

Yeah, he, uh, he, yeah, he, he didn't like the fact that, cuz you're right, they, they weren't Ronette Records or the Crystals, they were Phil Specter productions. And you've lost that loving feeling and became a, uh, a Righteous Brother record. And, uh, he wasn't all that thrilled with that. So he, he, he went on to try and break us up, which was really weird. I mean, uh, he was gonna make a huge amount of money producing the Righteous Brothers and, uh, and to wanna break us up, you know, that's like opening up Walmart and everybody wants to come in and then close it next week. <laugh>. Yeah. And, uh, so yeah, but we, but we got through it and, uh, Bobby and I hung together cuz we, we realized what he was doing.

Fritz Coleman (00:15:21):

So in that same period of time you did, you lost that love and feel and that unchained melody, did you do all, all the Phil Spector hits all at one time in that, in that series of days?

Bill Medley (00:15:32):

Well, we had recorded, you've Lost That Love and Feeling, then we did a, you've Lost That Love and Feeling album. And Phil Specter asked me to produce the, uh, albums because like you were saying, he took too long, way too long, uh, just on the singles and spent a way too much money. So he asked me to do the albums, and he knew I could do 'em cheaper and quicker. So, uh, uh, the, the song that followed Love and Feeling was just once in my life. And when, when it was time to do that album, Bobby wanted to do Unchained Melody, which we, we knew from the fifties from, uh, Roy Hamilton. It was in a, a movie called Unchained. Uh, the movie didn't do well, but, uh, we loved that song and loved, loved Roy Hamilton. And Bobby wanted to do it. So I produced Unchained Melody for the album. And, uh, Phil thought Phil, like, I guess thought it was such a bad record that he put it on the b side of, of, uh, uh, his, his production was hung on You. And for some reason, every disc jockey in the country, uh, turned it over and started playing Unchained Melody. And it became a huge hit. And, and Bobby killed it. Bobby, great, great singer.

Fritz Coleman (00:17:04):

And, and that was kind of the relationship you had with Phil. He, he got credit for having produced some of the hits that you had that you actually produced yourself, but he got the written credit for it, right?

Bill Medley (00:17:15):

Yeah, I think when Unchain Melody first came out, I'm sorry, the title, I think it said, produced by Bill Medley, cuz he didn't want anything to do with it. But when it became a hit, then it, then he changed, he changed, uh, you know, illegal that it was record, uh, produced by

Louise Palanker (00:17:35):

Phil. Yeah. And, and maybe if you guys can find those collectors out there, if it says produced by Bill Medley on on Chain melody, that's probably a collector's item. <laugh>

Bill Medley (00:17:43):

Probably, yeah. I dunno how many of 'em were out there. But yeah, it would be a collector's item.

Fritz Coleman (00:17:48):

I'm fascinated by your life. You grew up in Santa Ana, California, that's, that's Orange County, California, yet you were enamored with and drawn to Blues and r and b, BB King and Bobby Blue Bland and, uh, Bo Didley and all those early r and b and Blues acts. It's so interesting, it seems so outta place from the environment you grew up in and that's why you guys started with, uh, r and b and your first hit, little Latin loopy Lou was a great sort of an r and b hit.

Bill Medley (00:18:18):

Yeah, we, uh, Bobby I was raised in Santa Ana. Bobby was raised in Anaheim and, uh, we didn't know each other until about 20, 21 years old. Uh, my guitar player was also playing in Bobby's band. And so he would, Barry would tell me about Bobby and he would tell Bobby about me. And, but when we were both 15 years old, uh, there was a great, uh, uh, black radio station, uh, hunter Hancock Kg f j up in LA that we could barely tune in, uh, on our radios. And first time I heard Little Richard, I just said, wow, what, what is that? And, and you gotta know that at 15 years old, I wasn't looking to be a singer or, or anything like it. So hearing Little Richard and kind of emulating him vocally, and then Ray Charles and Bobby Bland and all those guys, that was really, uh, you know, I I always say that I was very fortunate to have little Richard and Ray Charles come to my house every day in the form of a record and teach, teach me how to sing <laugh> and teach Bobby how to sing. So, uh, when it came time to record, and I had written the song Little at npi and, uh, the record company came in to see us. Uh, we were in a club working and, uh, said, I love that song. Let's going and record it. And that's the way we sang that We didn't know any other, you know, any other, it would've been harder if they said, can you do it White <laugh> <laugh> say, yeah, I have to get somebody else. But

Louise Palanker (00:20:08):

You had practiced or kind of invented your own form of multi-tracking, right? Yeah, as a kid,

Bill Medley (00:20:15):

Yeah. When I was, oh man, probably about 18, 17 or 18 years old, uh, there was always a piano in that house. Cause my mom played a piano and sang. And, uh, so I learned how to play enough like Fats domino songs, Elvis Presley songs, certainly Little Richard and, uh, n n not Ray Charles, Ray Charles. But, uh, uh, yeah, I, I would get two recorders and I would sing into one recorder and then then play that one and record that record and sing a vocal background. And my grandpa, who was a comedian and was living with us at the time, he just, he said, man, you are gonna make millions on this. I wish,

Louise Palanker (00:21:07):

I wish, I don't know what you're doing, but it's fascinating.

Bill Medley (00:21:10):

I don't have, yeah, this is so wrong, but there's

Louise Palanker (00:21:12):

Something wrong. <laugh>, could you tell the, the Whoopy Goldberg story because I, I think that's just so cool. I mean, and it's a lesson to all of us about how important it is that every interaction is important in our lives.

Bill Medley (00:21:26):

Yeah. Well, I don't know if I can swear on this show. Sure. Hell yes. Go right now, <laugh>.


Well, uh, it was funny. I, uh, uh, we were, I was working, I wasn't a righteous brother at the time. I was Bobby and I broke up in 68 and I was working in Reno and, and Whoopi was, uh, filming a sister, sister act. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> what it was called. And she was right down the street. And, uh, she came in, she came in one night to see me, uh, wa to watch the show. And, uh, <laugh> and I, I would do this. Ray Charles, me, it really was a country me. It was born to lose. You don't know me and I can't stop loving you, which Ray did, uh, country. Uh, so I would pass it off as this is a tribute to Ray Charles. But the truth is, I just loved those songs and I loved, loved, uh, country music as a blue singer. It, it, it was fun to do. So I did this song, the, the, the, the medley. It's the medley of songs in, uh, and it always got a great reaction. And people were clapping, plotting, and soon as the applause died down, I hope I can use this word because it's perfect, just died down. Died down. And from way in the back you could hear Whoopy say, fuck Michael Bolton <laugh>, holy shit. I mean, obviously hear her voice. Everybody knew who would, you know, who was doing it. And, and by the way, Michael Bolton's obviously a phenomenal singer, but

Louise Palanker (00:23:09):

<laugh> No. And I met, I noticed that you didn't put his name in the book, but it's so abundantly clear that you're talking about Michael Bolton. Right. That my brain said exactly what you just said. But I want you to tell the story of what happened when she was a little girl. Why? Part of why she loves you so much.

Bill Medley (00:23:25):

Well, she came backstage, uh, you know, after the show, and I said, why are, I said, it's unusual, you know, that you're a a big fan. And she said, I was, she said, I was a young girl, and Bobby and I did a, a show at Central Park, the huge, huge show. And they were, uh, they were running us out the back door. So, uh, you know, before the audience could get at us. And I ran by and there was this, a young black girl and, and ran by her. And she said, could you please sign this? Could you please? And I, apparently, I, cuz I don't remember this, I, I stopped, I came back and I signed her autograph. And, uh, I think I gave her a kiss on the cheek and she said that was so special to her. And, uh, uh, I wish I could remember, make me feel better about myself, <laugh>. But

Louise Palanker (00:24:26):

It's probable that you're doing sweet things like that all the time. And that there's lots of people in the world who have those memories of you. That little girl just happened to be Whoopy Goldberg.

Bill Medley (00:24:34):

Well, you know, that, that was, that, that was, you know, like really putting the stamp on this is why you pay attention to the audience. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, uh, when I, when I went out on my own in 68, I started going out front to sign autographs and sell stuff and this and that, and got to hear so many incredible stories, incredible stories that Bobby and I just never, never knew because, you know, you're, you're just busy doing what you do and you don't, you're not, you don't realize how you're touching, uh, people out there. And especially a lot of the, uh, Vietnam guys, the veterans would come in cuz our, our music was real big over there, you know, 65, 66, and that era. And, uh, to have those guys and their wives come up and, and, and hand us stuff, you know, like, we should be giving you guys stuff. They would be giving us little medals or stuff of things and, and how our music, uh, helped 'em over there. And man. Yeah. It's, uh,

Fritz Coleman (00:25:45):

Let, let, let's face it, you, you were, uh, a perfect partner for guys that couldn't do their own foreplay, <laugh>, just pop on the Righteous Brothers and slowly undress. There it is right there. <laugh>, really some of the most romantic songs. And I think that's why, you know, you lost that loving feeling is, you know, the hands down, the greatest, the, the, the longest running and most played hit on radio.

Bill Medley (00:26:12):

Well, yeah, listen, it was written by Barry Cynthia. It's a, it's a great song. And Phil Specter did a great job and Bobby and I did our part. And, uh, but its funny that you say that, uh, a they, every guy will come up to you and say, boy, I wanna thank you, man. <laugh>, I got laid. I was in the back seat. I got laid in the, so, and then, then five minutes later, their wife will come up and say, I, I just wanna thank you. My husband and I had so many wonderful moments with your music, <laugh>.

Fritz Coleman (00:26:49):

They'd phrase it a little, just

Louise Palanker (00:26:50):

Frame it. I think the mu you know, the mu if you talk about Blue eyed Soul, um, I think the music is, is America to a lot of us because it's a, it's a blend of who all we are all living here together in this country and how we've in influenced one another. And how you two guys, you know, were influenced by African American music and, and then made it your own. It just kind of personifies what America is. And maybe that's why it means so much to servicemen when they're, when they're missing home and they're serving.

Bill Medley (00:27:19):

Yeah. Listen, if that's all our music ever did, that would, that would've been plenty good. And, uh, oddly enough, uh, down right next to Santa Ana was Tu Tuston and there was a marine base there, and Bobby and I were called the pa, the Paramore's and the B but the Black Marines heard that there was a couple of white guys down at the club singing rhythm and blue. So they started showing up and, uh, in the fifties and sixties and probably seventies, uh, if, uh, if you had a great looking car, a a a black guy would probably say, boy, what a righteous looking car. Yeah. What a righteous car. And if they like you as a friend, they would call you a brother. So a lot of times when we would come to work, they would say, Hey, righteous brother, how you doing? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which meant good friend. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so we went, when we went in to record, uh, uh, little at and loopy Lou, we didn't have a name. And I think Bobby said, well, let's, let's call ourself with the Black Marines have been calling us. And so that, you know, we came by that name pretty honestly.

Fritz Coleman (00:28:27):

I, I wanna talk about those early groups cuz I'm fascinated by how you end up where you are. The Romancers and the Paramore's playing in Little Italy and those great clubs down in Santa Ana and Anaheim and I, was it the Paramore's in which Mitch Rider was a member and then later went on for the Detroit Wheels and had his own kind of fame?

Bill Medley (00:28:47):

Yeah, no, no. That there, a lot of people think that that was No, Mitch Ryder I think is from Detroit. Right. Oh. And, uh,

Fritz Coleman (00:28:55):

I thought he was part of your history. It's another Mitch writer.

Bill Medley (00:29:00):

No, Mike Ryder.

Fritz Coleman (00:29:01):

Oh, Mike Ryder. Oh,

Bill Medley (00:29:03):

Reer in the,

Fritz Coleman (00:29:03):

That's me not reading it. Right. Well,

Bill Medley (00:29:06):

But Mitch sounds better.

Louise Palanker (00:29:07):

<laugh>. I think

Fritz Coleman (00:29:08):

That's Prince. I'm sorry about that. That's Chris. I had a whole, I had a whole history created

Louise Palanker (00:29:11):

Here. It, it's seeing the word you want to see <laugh> rather than the word that is there.

Bill Medley (00:29:16):

Well, it's funny. Mitch Ryder had a hit with a little Latin loopy.

Louise Palanker (00:29:20):

Oh, did he?

Bill Medley (00:29:21):

Yeah. After, after we did it. Yeah.

Louise Palanker (00:29:23):

Yeah. So you, you talk, you kind of talk in your book about a question that Sammy Davis Jr. Asked you that you weren't quite able to answer. But as you were kind of summarizing your thoughts, you know, about what you are, who you are and what you do. Sammy had asked you how you do it, because here's a guy who's like considered pound for pound, the greatest showman in the world has ever seen. And he's asking you how do you do it? Which that, you know, that must have been a moment. And what he really wants to know is like, how is your soul coming from in here out of you? So naturally, and you had a chance to really think about that question and you, you said, I think the music goes from my heart to my voice, and it doesn't make a stop at my brain.

Bill Medley (00:30:08):

Well, uh, Frank Sinatra, uh, brought Bobby and I in 65 to, uh, Las Vegas, the San Hotel. And we were there, uh, I broke up, I left the Righteous Brothers in 68. And, uh, but Frank Sinatra told us we needed, <laugh> needed to go to the health club every night at five o'clock because we were kind of having va what they would call Vegas throat. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> very high in the desert. And we were singing all this crazy rock and roll, why Frank Sinatra let us be in the Lounge while he was in the main room. I still don't have that answer, but, uh, Sammy Davis was in the main room and, uh, I was in the lounge, which was a great lounge. And, uh, he, uh, sw <laugh>, I'm sitting in a chair in the, in the, uh, steam room. And, uh, he came, came and he had a pad and paper and he, and he said, bill, can I talk to him?


And I said, of course. He said, how do you do it? I said, how, how do I do what? He said, you know, how, how do you, how do you do what you do? He said, I've watched your show several times and I can tell that you are not thinking about it. And you, you, you sound, it's so authentic. It's, it's a mindblower. And and I told him about, you know, well I was 15 years old and was taught by little Richard Ray, Charles, Bobby bla and that's the only music I knew. Uh, you know, uh, cuz at 15 years old, I hadn't been in the business for 10 years and decided, well, I think I'll start singing rhythm and blues. So, uh, uh, I said, I, and, and that's when I said, I said, the, the best way I can tell you is that, uh, uh, yeah, it goes, you know, from my, whatever I said, from my,

Louise Palanker (00:32:13):

From my heart into my voice.

Bill Medley (00:32:14):

Yeah. And, and I don't, and I don't think, cuz he said, I can tell you're not thinking about it. You're just, you're just flat doing it. And, uh, and I thought that was cool. And, and I felt bad for Sammy because, uh, he, he was, you know, he spent his whole life, uh, trying to be Sinatra in those guys, you know, and then the sixties hits and he now, and he, he, it was very important to him to be hip. And he was hip. He was the greatest performer in the world. And that's, that's what I told him. And he, so he spent his whole life trying to be Frank Sinatra. Now all of a sudden, the hip thing is, is, uh, is, uh, Ray Charles, you know, James Brown. And, and he now wanted, he, he now wanted to do some of that music.

Louise Palanker (00:33:11):

Oh, okay. Wanted to get more authentic. He had spent a lot of his career just chasing the cool kids.

Bill Medley (00:33:17):

Yeah, exactly. The kind of the white performers. And now to stay hip, he, he wanted to know how to do James Brown and Ray Charles. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I told him, and I, and I probably was going out on a limb. I said, oh, Sammy, I don't think you should worry about that. You're, you're the greatest performer and singer in the world. And, uh, he said, yeah, but I really wanna understand how you do that. And, uh, so I kind of felt, kind of felt bad for him that he, at that age, whatever age he was, and in 69 or 70, uh, that he was gonna go chase that. And I, I re uh, I just told him, I said, I don't think you, I don't think you should chase that. You're, you're the greatest at what you do. And so don't sand that down. But

Louise Palanker (00:34:13):

I think that's,

Bill Medley (00:34:14):

He would still do some of

Louise Palanker (00:34:15):

That stuff. That's excellent advice. That's probably exactly what he needed to hear. You know, he'd been honing it since he was a baby. Just do what you do, buddy.

Bill Medley (00:34:23):

Just do what you do. Yeah. I said, I'm, I just, I'm doing what I do and you're doing what you do. Yeah. You know,

Fritz Coleman (00:34:31):

Bill, you talked about, uh, throat issues and so let's talk about your battle with the throat. Uh, you were doing three shows a night in Vegas with the Righteous Brothers, and then what happened?

Bill Medley (00:34:43):

Well, you know, they would call it Vegas though. What it really was was just, it was dry. And, uh, when El my, my contract ran out at The Sands, I think in, uh, seven 70, somewhere in there. Yeah. 70. And, uh, Elvis Presley just came to, uh, opened up in Vegas and, uh, Elvis and, and the Righteous Brothers were good friends. And so they, they, they tore out the, the, uh, lounge that I was working. And, uh, so I, I, I, my manager went over to, uh, the Hilton and said, you would you like to hire Bill Medley? And somehow, some way, I'm sure Elvis got word of that, and, uh, made sure that every time he was in the main room, I was in the lounge. Uh, that's the way he wanted it. And, uh, so while I was there, and it was probably about 73, I was still doing three shows on the weekend.


And I had laryngitis, but I kept doing the show and I just blew my throat out. You know, it's like, it would be like running on a sprained ankle. Yes. You know, it's gonna make it worse. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I went to a throat doctor, and, uh, both of 'em, big doctors in LA both said, you'll never, he'll never sing again. You know, you're done. That's one, one of the doctors said my throat looked like hamburger meat. And, uh, and man, uh, it was a mindblower to me. Cause I had quit high school when I was 16. And I mean, I was heading right into a mountain, you know, uh, back there, uh, in the early sixties. And so I was a one trick pony. I, if I don't sing, I'm, I don't know what I'm doing, what I would be doing. And, uh, but, uh, thank God I went to the, uh, to the right guy and, uh, took years, you know, for it to come back. And, uh, I'm probably my voice. I know it doesn't sound that way right now cause I'm, I'm just getting a horse sinus attack. But, uh, uh, I'm probably singing better now than I ever have. And, uh, thank God. When

Louise Palanker (00:37:14):

You think, when you think about how, if you think about how things happen for a reason, what did you learn during that time period when you weren't singing that you would not have learned, had you continued singing?

Bill Medley (00:37:25):

Well, because, because I had quit school, uh, and got, got, you know, fortunate with, uh, the Righteous Brothers, I just always felt that I was probably stupid, uh, lazy. And when, uh, we started, when I started taking my voice lessons, uh, and I would take a voice lesson, uh, five times a week, uh, two sessions, uh, a time. So I was doing like 10, 10 sessions a week. And boy, I'm, I'm telling you, at the beginning it was like I couldn't even get my chords to touch. And finally it came around, came around, and I worked hard, man. I, I did everything possible to get my voice back. Went, uh, spiritually, went to a shrink. My did changed my diet. I did everything I could. And what I learned by the time I got done and my voice was back well enough, uh, to record, to perform, I realized, wow, I'm really not stupid. And I'm certainly not lazy. And, uh, so that, and, and that was, uh, that was a very cool thing.

Fritz Coleman (00:38:49):

Probably appreciated your gift more than you had before.

Bill Medley (00:38:52):

Absolutely. That's amazing.

Fritz Coleman (00:38:53):

You know, wheezy, if I'll say one thing, you know, you, you talked about Elvis and he always wanted you in the lounge when he was in the main room and Frank Sinatra told you where to perform and he wanted you in the lounge when he was in the main room. It's really counterintuitive to what you hear about stars. They're so competitive and egotistical and, uh, they don't want anybody sort of get off my cloud kind of thing. But it sounds like guys like Elvis and Sinatra and some of the other major talents supported other talent. But

Louise Palanker (00:39:20):

I have, I have a theory. He pulls chicks, <laugh>

Fritz Coleman (00:39:24):

Soap. Good

Louise Palanker (00:39:25):

Point. This guy's out there in the lounge. He's, he's pulling game, you know, <laugh>, and they come out of their show and it's, it's a party. Is

Fritz Coleman (00:39:31):

That it? Is this, is

Bill Medley (00:39:33):

This a I don't, I don't have a clue. <laugh> took the Righteous Brothers to Vegas because they had to get his okay for whoever was in the lounge, because he would take his big parties after his show and bring them into the lounge, which usually was Louis Freeman, Keeley Smith, and mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that only thing I can figure is Nancy and Tina Sinatra must have been in the room.

Fritz Coleman (00:40:00):

<laugh>. Oh, that's

Bill Medley (00:40:01):

Interesting ing. Cause we were so opposite from what, where he was coming from.

Fritz Coleman (00:40:07):

Well, maybe that's what it was. You weren't really competitive, you just made a nice evening.

Louise Palanker (00:40:11):

But it was a nice place to hang out after their show. Seriously. They liked, they liked enjoying the, the Vegas environment and they wanted to do it in a good show. And you're, the lounge shows they weren't on it exactly the same time as the, as the main room shows, correct?

Bill Medley (00:40:25):

No, we were opposite.

Louise Palanker (00:40:27):

Yeah. So it gave them cool place to hang out,

Bill Medley (00:40:30):

Like Frank or Elvis, they would do the eight o'clock show, we would do 10 o'clock, they would do a 12 o'clock show, and, and we would do a two o'clock show.

Louise Palanker (00:40:41):

So we wanna hear some, some Elvis stories while we're on this subject, cuz boy oh boy, you, you and Elvis were really, really good friends.

Bill Medley (00:40:51):

Yeah. Uh, when I, when I wrote the book, I said, I'm not gonna talk about Elvis unless you can talk to George Klein or one of Elvis's guys that, that they can say, yeah, that's the truth. And I, and George Klein said, well, bill Medley is one, one of Elvis's five, uh, friends. And, uh, so that was cool. That, that was amazing. But I got to know Elvis really, really good on a one, one-on-one because, uh, he would do his eight o'clock show. And when I was just done with my 10 o'clock, I don't, I don't know when it was, but he would call me on the phone, say, come on to the dressing room. And, uh, it, he, it was about 15 or 20 minutes before his show would start, and it was just Elvis and I and Elvis's hairdresser, which nobody ever got that opportunity. I mean, if you, uh, even went back to the dressing room to see Elvis after the show, it was all of his boys and a bunch of girls and this and that, and he really didn't get the talk. So I don't know. I pro Elvis and I probably had about a hundred, 150 of those, you know, just sitting down talking and we had a lot in common. Uh, he always wanted to be a, a black bass singer, <laugh>. And I guess

Fritz Coleman (00:42:17):

He thought, ah, there it is right there. You had something you didn't know. Yeah. Tell us something in your personal, your one-on-ones with him, uh, that, that the general public wouldn't know about his personality or his heart, or his quirks.

Bill Medley (00:42:33):

Well, he, he wa he was very re religious. And, and, and I, I was, uh, religious and raised in a very religious home. And, uh, uh, he just, you know, you just get, when it, and you guys probably know this, uh, when you're one on one with, uh, with another artist like Elvis and I sitting down, well, Elvis is really gonna be Elvis and I'm gonna be Bill warts and all, you know, and we only become different, uh, when my manager shows up or my wife and people start showing up, and then you start to put on, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I put on my Righteous Brothers,

Fritz Coleman (00:43:16):

You know, and you guys both sang, you're, you, you have the distinction of being two white young men that started in the church and Yeah. Gospel and church singing was important to both of you and gave you your styles.

Bill Medley (00:43:30):

Yeah. Uh, gospel, well, gospel and music and blues and, you know, constable music is really where all, all the soul stuff mm-hmm. <affirmative> started and ended, you know, uh, and in church, you know, every, every major black artist will say, well, I started in the church, you know, I mean, from Sam Cook to Whitney, Huey, you name it. And Elvis used to go into some black churches and to hear that music, he was, he just, he just loved it. And, uh, and Bo Bo both Bobby and I just loved, uh, gospel music. And, uh, and we realized, and we knew how, you know, where blues and rhythm and blues really came from. And, uh, so yeah, we had that in common. And we both rode motorcycles and, and a lot of, a lot of, a lot of stuff. And, and, and like I say, I, I got to know Elvis as Elvis, and one night he says, why don't you come up?


Because his dressing room was downstairs, so why don't you come up and watch me go on stage? I said, okay, cool. So we go up and, and the band is, and, and Elvis and I are standing there in the wings talking, and the band starts up with all that great, was it 2000? All that. And now the women are screaming and they're going nuts. And, and, and they're, the guys are trying to get, you know, Elvis ready with makeup, his hair. Yeah. And so I kind of backed away and, and I, and Elvis was kind of in a shadow waiting to go on, and I, and I looked at Elvis and I said, holy crime. And that's Elvis Presley. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And obviously I knew, but I got so comfortable with being, you know, talking with Elvis, that it was just a mindblower and what, and then the band kicks in doing all, and the women are literally just, I got so excited. I damned near went on, <laugh> took me from there. But,

Fritz Coleman (00:45:39):

Uh, you, you know, you find out about him. I, I, I've watched this a couple of times. The, the series of Vegas shows when he was preparing for the comeback, and they taped like five or six of those rehearsals. He was a very funny person. And he would crack the band up and do liners and, and break the tension in the room all the time. He was very entertaining that way.

Bill Medley (00:46:00):

Extremely entertaining. And, and I think, you know, after doing what, God, I think he was doing seven nights a week and he was doing two shows a night. I couldn't do that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> wouldn't do that, but I couldn't do it. And, uh, and I think after, you know, like four or five years of that, I think he started getting a little, you know, like, oh man, you know mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, same stage, same band, same, you know, and, and I think I, I don't wanna say he got bored. I just think, you know, us artists, I've always said, you know, like doing a concert, if I'm doing a concert in, in Boston, every night is like, uh, your first date, you know, it, it's you, you, you put your best clothes on, you tell your funniest stories, uh, not to have gas <laugh> and all that. So it's like your first date mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, and, and it's always exciting. Uh, so when you work a stage too much, you kind of get too. So El Elvis, uh, started getting, getting off script, basically, uh, as you would say, uh, he would start joking and screwing around with the songs, changing lyrics. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But it made it

Fritz Coleman (00:47:22):

Really human though. I was amazed. And I, I

Louise Palanker (00:47:24):

Himself, now you're gonna laugh at this analogy, and I may be way off here, but it, it, is it possible that Elvis was a little bit like Britney Spears in that you get really famous at 20 and suddenly you're surrounded by handlers, enablers, and really captors, and you're, you don't even know what it's like to adult on your own because you've just been, this rocket launched into space and now you can, you can make so much money for so many people that they kind of just keep you held captive. I mean, you were talking about how even, even when you guys were on shindig, Elvis wanted to come on shindig and the colonel said, no, that's not, you can't go on shindig. Like he didn't, he kind of gave everything over to the colonel cuz he was a, a young sensitive guy who needed guidance. And then sometimes you get the wrong guidance. What are, what are your thoughts on that?

Bill Medley (00:48:14):

Well, you're exactly right. And, uh, listen, all of his guys, the Memphis Mafia where they, they were called, but they were all great guys. And, uh, but they, they kind of had to end up being yes people. And, and, and the colonel pulled, pulled all the strings and, uh, so yeah, Elvis, and, you know, it happens to all artists that, you know, you're never wrong and whatever joke you tell is really funny. And, and so it's pretty cool actually, <laugh>. But, uh, uh, yeah, he, and that, that's why it was so cool to talk to him before the show. Yeah. Because it was El Elvis, the guy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> the kid, you know, from, from Memphis or wherever he was from. And I can tell you one story that I went, I, I just happened to be in town and I went into Elvis's show and he, and for some reason he would always introduce me and I would tell him, I said, you don't have to do that. I felt stupid because all the women there, they're there to see Elvis, they don't, could care less at a Bill Meley <laugh> is in the audience. And, uh, but, uh, this time he, he, he didn't, uh, he didn't, uh, I'm sorry, is

Louise Palanker (00:49:33):

That from you Bill? Is it, is it, is it the King

Bill Medley (00:49:36):

<laugh>, uh,

Louise Palanker (00:49:39):

Call from heaven

Bill Medley (00:49:41):

This time? He didn't introduce me. Uh, and I was backstage, uh, talking to him, and I was briefly running in and out and in the dressing room there was all the, all the his guys and all the girls and, and, and, you know, like background sound, you know, and people talking well in this, and everybody's talking, Joe, and I'm talking with Elvis and it's time I wanna, I have to get out of there and, and I'm starting to leave. And Elvis said, bill, I'm sorry that I didn't introduce you and, and the sound, you know, voices talking. And I said, uh, oh, that's cool. No, no prize. I said, I'll never come back. And I mean, the whole room, it's like they took a knob and just turned it off. <laugh>. So these guys were talking to the girls and this and that, but they knew exactly what Elvis, what he was talking about or what was going on there. Wow. Done. Ooh.

Louise Palanker (00:50:44):

Has he displeased the king silence?

Bill Medley (00:50:47):

He's the guy. And, and he, uh, and I said, come on man, I'm just kidding. Cause his face, he really sure was like a little boy. And he, he was hurt. And I said, I'm just kidding.

Fritz Coleman (00:50:59):


Louise Palanker (00:51:01):

The background, we're back.

Fritz Coleman (00:51:02):

You know, he kept the same players for most of his career. How about you and the Righteous Brothers? Have you had your same backing musicians for most of your time?

Bill Medley (00:51:11):

Yeah, we had, uh, we had guys that were with us our entire career. Uh, Barry Valle, who was our guitar player and uh, uh, great, great guitar player. And, uh, and we even took it, we were the opening act on the, the Beatles first American tour. Holy cow. And we took Barry with us. And so Barry was with us, uh, until he got ill, uh, the whole time. And we, and we, we really didn't hire bands. Listen, you know, anybody, any good musician can play the Righteous Brothers Show. It's not difficult. It's not jazz. It's not, it's three chords and two jokes, you know, <laugh> and, uh, uh, so we really hired guys because we liked them and they were good players. They were good players, but we didn't hire 'em because they were great players. We hired them because we liked them.

Louise Palanker (00:52:14):

What I talk about the, the relationship that you learned, that you watched Louie Prima, you know, developed this dialogue with, with his, with his guy, and that you kind of decided that's that's how I wanna roll. I wanna, I wanna incorporate that. And maybe that's what keeps guys with you is that they get, they get to enjoy that conversation with you up

Fritz Coleman (00:52:33):

There. She was an amazing entertainer. Yeah. It's funny you bring him up before he answers the question. Yeah. Cause I've just been watching YouTube stuff with him and Keeley Smith. Yeah. She was hysterical. She never changed the expression on her face. And he was hysterical. They were great entertainers. Go ahead, bill, sir.

Bill Medley (00:52:49):

Okay, great. And what I really learned from watching that show, and, and it was Louis that I, uh, learned it from, I, I never stole anything, but stuff would just Sure. Come into my, you know,

Louise Palanker (00:53:02):

Incorporate Sure. Style

Bill Medley (00:53:03):

And, uh, but he, he just went after the audience. Just after him, you know? Yeah. And, and if somebody was taking a solo, if San Mate was taking a solo, all the other musicians would be Yeah, yeah. Play Sand Go mm-hmm. <affirmative> and the audience would start doing the same thing. So I learned right there that go the audience, you know, and I, and that's what I would wanna do anyway, but you know, because when you're on stage, they're your partner.

Louise Palanker (00:53:33):


Bill Medley (00:53:34):

Right. And, uh, and how they react and they can kind of turn themself on. The more, the more they applaud. They say, boy, we really love this show, don't we? Yeah.

Fritz Coleman (00:53:44):

He was an amazing entertainer.

Louise Palanker (00:53:46):

Yeah. And it becomes exponential and it becomes like a group activity. We're all doing this. Yeah, exactly. But I have a surreal moment that I'd like to, um, tell the story. So my husband and I went on a cruise with, with the cow sales. I made a movie about the cow sales. So we went on this cruise and the day we boarded the cruise bill, you're gonna remember this cuz you were, there was the, was Super Bowl day. So I, I find myself sitting with the cow sills poolside watching the Super Bowl and looking at Bill Medley <laugh>. And I'm, I'm in the middle of the ocean with Bill Medley watching the Super Bowl. And you know, as a little kid who grew up listening to Bill Medley, that was, I looked at him more than I looked at the, the game.

Fritz Coleman (00:54:29):

Were you just on a tour, a, a a, a cruise for yourself? Or were you performing on that?

Bill Medley (00:54:34):

Well, I, I, I, I, I, I can't remember <laugh> a Super Bowl. It

Louise Palanker (00:54:39):

Was, he does this, it was like five years ago, but yeah, it was, it was the concerts at sea.

Bill Medley (00:54:43):

Well, was I on the cruise

Louise Palanker (00:54:45):

Or Yeah, no, you were performing, you were one of the acts. Yeah. Was

Bill Medley (00:54:49):

It Ari Righteous Brothers, or

Louise Palanker (00:54:50):

No, it was you and McKenna.

Bill Medley (00:54:52):

Oh, Paul River

Louise Palanker (00:54:53):

Was Paul Calcis the association. You Gary Lewis.

Fritz Coleman (00:54:58):

That sounds pretty

Louise Palanker (00:54:59):

Paul. Fantastic. Yeah,

Bill Medley (00:55:00):

It's pretty, pretty interesting that I was at the pool with my clothes off

Louise Palanker (00:55:06):

<laugh>. I'm not saying you had your clothes on. When did I ever

Bill Medley (00:55:09):

Mr. For Granted I was at the pool, but, uh, yeah, the councils were on that. And uh, well thank you that, that's, I'm, I'm glad that that was cool for you.

Louise Palanker (00:55:21):

And Bob adores you and he says hi.

Bill Medley (00:55:24):

Ah, Bob's your husband.

Louise Palanker (00:55:25):

No, <laugh>,

Fritz Coleman (00:55:27):

She means Bob Castel.

Louise Palanker (00:55:28):

Bob Castel.

Bill Medley (00:55:29):

Oh, Bob Castel. Yeah. No, I just, I did an interview with them and they were amazingly great. They were righteous brother fans and

Louise Palanker (00:55:39):

Yeah, they have their own podcast now. So I saw, I saw that you were on it. Very cool people. So let's see, what else should we talk about?

Fritz Coleman (00:55:46):

I wanna talk about the rebirth of the Righteous Brothers and a great news series of concerts, uh, in Las Vegas. And that has already started Bill, did you say?

Bill Medley (00:55:59):

No, it, it starts in August, I think. We're at the South Point Hotel. We, we had been at Harris, uh, we started in 2016 at Harris. And they, you know, they call it a residency, uh, gig. And it's, uh, you know, it's, but we did about 30 weeks, you know, uh, and, uh, but through the pandemic and everything, good friend of mine, Michael gone, owns, uh, the South Point Hotel. And, uh, you know, my, my career is winding down and, uh, so I, I just wanted to go back over there cuz he's a real good friend of mine and he has a great showroom. And we're, we're there, uh, August the 17th, 18 and 19th. And, uh, so we'll probably do about, I don't know, 10 or 12 weeks there. And, uh, it's just great. It's great. Great to be in a hotel that you like, they have great food and great rooms, and you don't have to pack up and leave all the time. <laugh>. Perfect. Talk

Louise Palanker (00:57:09):

About your partner. Yeah, let's hear about Bucky. How'd you find him?

Bill Medley (00:57:13):

Oh, Bucky. Well, we were in prison together. <laugh>,

Louise Palanker (00:57:18):

Uh, that's how all your stories start <laugh>.

Bill Medley (00:57:20):

Yeah. Uh, I was, uh, Paul Revere and I went to, to, uh, we were asked by Dick Clark, uh, and it was right before his stroke that he, they were opening a, a, a American Bandstand Theater in Branson, Missouri. And he asked Paul, well, he asked me to go and, and I asked Paul if he would come with me. And, uh, so we were working in Branson and Bucky was, uh, working in a show, uh, legends of Concert or, or Legends, whatever mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, where, and, uh, he was doing John Belushi. He was do he, he they were imitating, you know, the Blues Brothers. Okay. But he then, then he left that and started doing his own show down at another theater. And I bumped into him, uh, at a wedding, oddly enough, and he said, bill, if you ever get a chance, come down to the theater. And, uh, he said, I'm doing a tribute to, uh, journey. I said, journey. You're do, you're doing Journey. Who, who's, who's doing? Steve Perry.

Louise Palanker (00:58:34):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>,

Bill Medley (00:58:35):

One of the great singers. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Sure. And, uh, he said, I am, I'm doing, I said, you, you're going from John Belushi to Steve Perry <laugh>. And I was, I was out to dinner that night with a couple of friends and I said, you know, my friend, and we were good friends for the whole time I was there. He is a great guy. And I said, Bucky is doing a tribute to, to Journey. I gotta go by and, and see, I just wanted to go there and watching Bomb

Louise Palanker (00:59:05):


Bill Medley (00:59:06):

He had the bomb. And I went there and he just blew my mind. Uh, he, he just sang like Steve Perry and, and was copying, you know, he was imitating Steve Perry. But, and, and I had had a lot of people say Bill Reform, Putin Reform, uh, formed the, the Righteous Brothers again. And, uh, and a lot of fans, but a lot of friends and guys in the business say, you know, people just want to hear that music. And, uh, so I was taking a walk on the lake there and, uh, and I said, man, if I was ever gonna, if I was ever gonna do that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, this is the only guy I would do it with, because we were good friends.

Louise Palanker (00:59:52):


Bill Medley (00:59:53):

And you know, when, when you take on a partner, it's, it's like, like bride,

Louise Palanker (01:00:00):

You know, you know, when I'm reading your book and I I I'm getting the, this sense that when you, when two young people have a hit together, it's like having a baby together. You're gonna both still be the parents of that song no matter what happens to the two of you personally. Like The Beatles, like John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it's like they have, you have to co-parent these songs. And that's as tricky as, as raising children because people expect something from you. It's like having a child together. That was the, the analogy that

Fritz Coleman (01:00:30):

You get to sing it every other weekend. Yeah.

Louise Palanker (01:00:32):

Yes, exactly. <laugh>. But did it feel that way? Cuz you're so young when you have this hit record and now I've gotta negotiate this relationship with this kind of difficult guy.

Bill Medley (01:00:42):

Well, Bobby wasn't difficult. We just didn't have, we, we just didn't have good communication. Mm-hmm. You know, and there was things about me that bothered him and vice versa. And, and if we would've sat down and discussed it, you know, uh, I could change. He, he would've changed, you know, but we didn't. And stuff would fester and, you know, and all that.

Fritz Coleman (01:01:06):

That's true of a hundred percent of all bands.

Louise Palanker (01:01:09):

Sure. It would have to be, it would have to be. But then you had a chance to reframe that relationship when you, in, in the nineties, was it when you and Bobby were, were performing at the hop together, you had a chance to a, as grownup men readdress the issues or put all of that to rest and build a, a real honest, true brother brotherhood.

Bill Medley (01:01:29):

Well, yeah, and I, I've heard other groups say this, you know, when we, when when we had our hit records in the sixties, we were boys. We were kids. Yeah. And now, in the, the end of the eighties, uh, top Gun had love and feeling in it. I did a song for Dirty Dancing. I've been, and, and Shane Melody was in Ghost, and we were back bigger than ever. And, uh, we were getting offers and we weren't together in, in, in the, uh, end of the eighties. And, but we were getting such, uh, now I sound like a whore. But we <laugh> we were getting such huge offers that, uh, we said, okay, well we better go back and do this. But now we were men with families and children, and we were just two different guys. So the nineties, uh, until Bobby passed away in, uh, 2003, it was perfect.


Mm-hmm. <affirmative> it was great because we cut, we were just two different guys. Yeah. And, you know, you're 24, 25 years old, and now you're one of the biggest acts in the world and they're, they're paying you more money than you can spend. And girls are hitting on you that you would've never approached <laugh> <laugh> as Bill Medley. Uh, but as Bill Righteous, uh, it turned out pretty cool. So that was pretty hard to screw your head onto as a 24, uh, year old guys that we were just a couple of normal punks from, uh, orange County that were raised on rhythm and blues. And, uh, when we recorded, you know, two white guys sounding black was probably the, the most uncommercial thing you could do because the black stations couldn't play because you were white, white stations couldn't play because they thought we were black or sounded black. So nobody would play our music. So it was the worst thing.

Fritz Coleman (01:03:39):

But before they found out you were white guys, did they, did any of your song, I, I was gonna ask you that earlier. Did any of your songs cross over because they're beautiful r and b ballots?

Bill Medley (01:03:49):

Well, uh, little out Lupe Lou w we were on Moonglow Records, but, uh, it was distributed by Atlantic, and obviously Atlantic was mm-hmm. <affirmative>, a huge r and b label. So a lot of black stations were playing little at NPI Loop. And the worst thing that we did was to go out and promote

Fritz Coleman (01:04:10):

<laugh>. Oh, there we

Bill Medley (01:04:12):

Gopi. Cause uh, they would take us to these, uh, radio stations that were all, they would play all black music like they could if they took us to a, a station that played nothing but opera. Well, we're not playing them anymore. Anymore. They don't remember. And so, not until Love and Felan, they started playing Love and Felan. And that's how we got the name Blue-Eyed Soul, is that I think it started with the disc jockey in Philadelphia. Uh, hipping his audience to the fact here's, here's, you've lost that love and feeling by the Righteous Brothers, who are my blue-eyed soul brothers. Oh. In, in that he was telling them that these guys are white. Yeah, yeah.

Fritz Coleman (01:05:00):

Because he spoof fed it to the audience so they wouldn't be offended by it.

Louise Palanker (01:05:04):

Well, it's like a tip off, like the, these guys are cool, but they're white. Yeah.

Fritz Coleman (01:05:08):

No, I love that. Hey, did, did you, are there, were there, are there, or were there, uh, righteous Brothers Tribute bands?

Bill Medley (01:05:16):

Uh, there's been, there's been a few. And, uh, they, they, they, they all have a tough time because Bobby had this beautiful,

Fritz Coleman (01:05:27):

That, that was my point. I thought, you better be a brave soul to do that. I always thought it'd be great if you had a tribute band. And then the, the original artist found out about it and just showed up one night, <laugh>. And then they looked out and there's Bill Medley standing at the exit site like

Louise Palanker (01:05:42):

Sarah Palin showing up for a Tina Fey. <laugh>

Bill Medley (01:05:46):


Fritz Coleman (01:05:47):


Bill Medley (01:05:48):


Louise Palanker (01:05:49):


Bill Medley (01:05:50):

Did, did that, uh, it was Legends of Concert or whatever that is. There was a guy imitating Kenny Rogers, but they convinced Kenny to go out there.

Louise Palanker (01:06:00):

Oh, cool.

Bill Medley (01:06:01):

Instead of that guy. And literally there was some people that said that, guy's, that's no good <laugh>,

Fritz Coleman (01:06:08):

He's not

Louise Palanker (01:06:08):

<laugh>, he's not nailing it. He's

Fritz Coleman (01:06:10):

Not Kenny Rogers. That took guts. That's fantastic.

Louise Palanker (01:06:13):

Well, I'm gonna remind people or inform people as to where they can find you. Uh, bill Medley on Facebook, uh, medley dash 21 links will be in our show notes. Bill Medley on Twitter, uh, medley music, that's the official Bill Medley. And here come our closing credits. We would love for you to join us online on Instagram and on Twitter, where we are at Media Path Pod and on Facebook where we are, a Media Path podcast. You can find full episodes with all kinds of bonus visual content on our YouTube channel Media Path podcast. We would love to know what media you've been enjoying. You can contact us at our social media or email us at Media Path We wanna thank our wonderful guest, bill Medley. Our team includes Dina Friedman, Francesco Demond, John Maddox, Sharon Beo, bill Fak, Thomas Hubble, and you. Our theme music is by me and John Maddox. I am Louise Lanker. We will see you along the media path, but first, Fritz has some stuff for you. And stick around because right after Fritz says what he's about to say, you're gonna hear from Bucky and Bill about where you can find them. Next

Fritz Coleman (01:07:18):

<laugh>. Fabulous. God willing, you enjoyed this episode of Media Path. It would help us, you know, to be more discoverable by the unlearned. If you would leave us a quick review on Apple Podcast. And if you're new here and this is your first time with us, please check out our back catalog. We have tons of great talent, Gary Puckett and the Castels, and Bill Medley and Diane Warren and Bill Mumey, and Henry Winkler and Keith Morrison. Tons of great listening hours for you. Thank you so much for spending an hour with us and we will be overjoyed if you took a moment to share your thoughts with us. We recommend us to a friend. Bill, you are awesome.

Louise Palanker (01:07:58):

Bill and Bucky, what do we need to know about where you guys are appearing next?

Bill Medley (01:08:02):

Hey, I'm Bill Medley

Bucky Herd (01:08:02):

And I'm Bucky Herd. We are

Bill Medley (01:08:04):

The Righteous

Bucky Herd (01:08:05):

Brothers. That's right. We're so excited. Bill, on August 27th, we're gonna be bringing our show live to the beautiful city of Charlotte, North Carolina at the Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts. That's a mouthful,

Both (01:08:17):

But I it is a mouthful, but boy, I'm gonna tell you something, Charlotte. North Carolina's my truly one of my favorite

Bucky Herd (01:08:23):

Places. Can't wait to come eat.

Both (01:08:25):

We're gonna be doing, you've losts of love and feeling, soul and inspiration, Unchained, melody, rock and roll. Heaven. I've had time of my love. You better believe it. I don't know who's sang that one. No, no

Bucky Herd (01:08:35):

Either. Somebody pretty cool <laugh>. But you're gonna have the time of your life. We know that. So we're gonna see you Charlotte, North Carolina, August 27th.

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