Q&A: Bill Medley still going strong

By Emily Crowe

CMI staff writer

ecrowe@cnjonline.com

Best known as one half of the Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley has been making award-winning music for the better part of five decades.

Courtesy photo Bill Medley will perform Sept. 6 at the Clovis Music Festival. Medley has been making music for more than 50 years, and is best known as one half of the Righteous Brothers.

Courtesy photo
Bill Medley will perform Sept. 6 at the Clovis Music Festival. Medley has been making music for more than 50 years, and is best known as one half of the Righteous Brothers.

Medley and his Righteous Brothers partner Bobby Hatfield were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, just months before Hatfield’s unexpected death.

Now touring the country and doing residencies in Las Vegas and aboard a Malt Shop Memories Cruise to the Caribbean, Medley promises to play the hits for his fans.

He will play at the Curry County Events Center Sept. 6 as part of this year’s Clovis Music Festival.

 

Have you been through Clovis previously?

You know what, I don’t know. I’ve certainly been in the area many times; I know that. I’m sure looking forward to it.

 

What kind of touring have you been doing this year?

I’ve been doing a lot of one-nighters. I was doing a lot of work in Branson, Mo., but since the economy hit, the town has been having some trouble. So I’ve just been out doing one-nighters, which is really fun and great to do. Thank god people still want to hear that music.

 

How does touring now compare with the tours you went on at the beginning of your career?

At the beginning of our career, we were so hot we would go out for a month or two months. If you were gone a month, you’d probably do maybe 25 dates a month. And now, it’s really one-nighters. Like I’ll come to Clovis then come right back home, so that’s changed a lot. There’s a lot more coming-and-going touring.

 

What can someone attending your show expect?

I’m going to do all the hits. I do all the Righteous Brothers hits, I do “Time of My Life” that I had from “Dirty Dancing.” My daughter is 26, she’s going to be on the show singing “Time of My Life” with me. I’ve been to enough shows where the artist doesn’t do what the audience is expecting them to do, so I do all the hits.

 

You’ve done some work with your daughter, McKenna. How does it feel to share the stage with her?

It’s a blessing to be out there with my 26-year-old daughter. We usually get in town the night before and we have a little dinner. It just makes the road that much more comfortable.

 

How did you get your start in music?

When you first make it, there’s a lot of luck involved. We were very fortunate. We recorded some great songs: “Lovin’ Feeling,” “Unchained Melody,” “Soul and Inspiration.” We didn’t write them, but they’re just really great songs. We just were very fortunate.

 

Did you always know wanted to be in music?

Both Bobby and I sang in the church choirs and school choirs. Bobby and I didn’t meet until we were 21. That’s a pretty lofty dream to say, ‘Yeah, I think I’m going be a singer for the rest of my life.’ I don’t know what I thought. I think I was just stupid enough to keep walking forward, then all of a sudden the success comes. Ever since I was 18 or 19 years old, I certainly knew that it was something I wanted to do.

 

When you were recording “Unchained Melody,” did you expect it to become such an international hit?

No. I mean, we recorded it in ’66 or whenever it was. It was a big hit, a good-sized hit. Then they put it in “Ghost” the movie and that just turned “Unchained Melody” into a monstrous record. It hit a whole bunch of different ages. Same thing with “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” with “Dirty Dancing.” The movies make a huge impact. So, no, you never know. When we went in to record “Lovin’ Feeling,” we didn’t know it was going to be a hit. It had a lot of things going against it and now it’s the most played record in the history of American radio.

 

What artists and music do you listen to these days?

Bruno Mars. I love Bruno Mars. I love Justin Timberlake. I don’t listen a lot, but I listen to a lot of country music oddly enough. But I think Bruno Mars is wonderful. He kind of does a little of that old-school stuff.

— Edited for length and clarity

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