Like most of us, Bill Medley thought the Righteous Brothers were over when his longtime partner Bobby Hatfield passed away in 2003. However, the duo, sharing a double bill with the Temptations at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights on Saturday, June 25, is enjoying an unexpected but successful second act.
It’s as much a surprise to Medley as anyone that the tenor singer he needed to complete the Righteous Brothers signature blend was right in front of him. The 81-year-old artist, who handled baritone and bass duties since the group formed in 1963, revived the duo in 2016 with 56-year-old Bucky Heard. Since then, the revitalized group has been on the road delivering indelible hits like “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ " and “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration.”
The two friends recently spoke with Dayton.com in advance of their upcoming appearance.
Q: Bucky, I know you and Bill were already friends but what has it been like singing these songs with him on stage?
A: I was big fan of the Righteous Brothers and Bobby Hatfield growing up. It’s very surreal to go from sitting in my room and singing these songs to, all of a sudden, I’m on stage and I’m looking over at a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer that sings some of the greatest music ever recorded. Bill and I have been friends since about 2006. It was very casual and then doing this over the years, we’re best friends now. It’s almost like an old married couple but it’s still surreal. I don’t know how or what I did to end up here but thank you, God, for giving me this opportunity. It has just been amazing.
Q: Bill, what was it about Bucky singing in his Journey tribute band that made you think he was a right fit for the Righteous Brothers?
A: Well, I think Steve Perry is probably one of the greatest voices in rock and roll. When I saw Bucky do Steve Perry in Branson, he killed it. A lot of people were telling me to reform the Righteous Brothers and when I saw him that night, I said, ‘Well, that’s right where Bobby Hatfield lives vocally.’ I figured if he could do Steve, he could certainly do Bobby. As important as it is that Bucky can vocally do the show and do a great job, we were really good friends. I knew he was a good, strong Christian man, a great father and a great husband. That means a lot because when you think about a partner, man, it’s like getting a mail order bride because you don’t know what you’re going to end up with. It was a blessing we got to know each other before they threw us on a bus to go out and work.
Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Q: Bill, what does it mean to you to be out there still singing these songs for fans?
A: It’s a blessing to still be doing it and still having as much fun. When you go into those songs, you can just see people go back to being 25, 15 or however old they were and reliving that and that’s what makes it extremely special. I’ve always said, when you’re doing concerts every night, it’s like you’re first date. You’re trying to wear your best clothes. You get your hair done. You try to think of funny things to say. You just automatically go into whatever that magical world is that makes you feel like you’re 25 again.
Q: Bucky what has been most surprising to you about singing these classic songs night after night?
A: I guess, when we started this, I hoped audiences would accept me. It’s a fine line to walk. You’ve got to let the audience know, and we do, that in no way, shape or form am I trying to replace Bobby. I’m trying to help Bill bring the music to the people and keep this music alive. We make that really clear at the top. I’m thankful and surprised at how the audiences have embraced me. They’ve welcomed me into the Righteous Brothers fold and accepted me coming in and filling in for Bobby. I always hoped they’d accept me but it has been an amazing, wonderful surprise.
Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW TO GO
Who: The Righteous Brothers and the Temptations
Where: Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, June 25. Doors open at 7 p.m.
More info: 513-232-6220 or www.rosemusiccenter.com
Artist info: righteousbrothers.com
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