From the Warner Bros. release "Unchained"
Lyrics by Hy Zaret, Music by Alex
Oh, my love, my darling,
I've hungered for your touch a long, lonely time.
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!
Oh, my love, my darling,
I've hungered for your touch a long, lonely time
Lonely mountains gaze
at the stars, at the stars, Waiting for the dawn of the day.
All alone, I gaze at
the stars, at the stars, Dreaming of my love for away.
One of the most romantic and durable modern songs to emerge from the world
of film, "Unchained Melody" had its roots in an obscure movie called "Unchained".
The picture was the brainchild of one man, Hal Barlett who wrote, produced,
and directed this movie about the life in the California Institute of Men,
an "honor farm" state prison at Chino. Hardly the stuff of romance.
The film was based on the career of Kenyon J Scudder, former supervisor
at Chino, as detailed in Scudder's book, "Prisoners Are People". Most of
the scenes were actually filmed on location at the prison. Former football
player Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch played the lead character, while other
inmates, each with a story to tell, were played by Chester Morris and Jerry
Parris, among others. Television buffs will recognize Paris as a top TV
director who got his start playing Dick Van Dyke's buddy on "The Dick Van
Dyke Show" of the early '60's. Others in the cast included Peggy Knudsen
and Barbara Hale, who appeared as women visiting the prisoners. Hale went
on to star as Della Street in the long running "Perry Mason" television
The song "Unchained Melody" has fared considerably better than the film,
which quickly sank into obscurity. The movie was released in January 1955
with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. As was required in order
for the song to be eligible for Academy Award nomination, the words and
music were sung on the soundtrack by Al Hibbler, a blind black singer.
The song finished fifth in the 1955 voting for the Award. Hibbler's version
of the song and an instrumental recording by Les Baxter were released simultaneously
on April 9, 1955. Baxter's orchestral version on the Capitol label actually
went higher on the charts, reaching the Number One position and holding
it for two weeks in the course of a 21-week chart run. This was the only
version of the song to ever make it to the
Number One position on the charts. Hibbler's version peaked at Number Three
with a 19-week run. Two other artists reached the charts that year. Roy
Hamilton reached Number Six and was on the charts for 16 weeks. June Valli
was Number 29 for one week. On the London charts, Jimmy Young topped at
10 and Liberace made it to number 20.
The song was revived briefly in 1963, when Vito and the Salutations recorded
a version of it that climbed the charts to number 66. This was the first
"fast" version of the song. The most popular revival would come two years
later, in 1965, with a brand-new recording by the Righteous Brothers, whose
special sound helped "Unchained Melody" find a new audience and reach the
number 14 position. Not bad, considering that it was the "B-side" of a
45 RPM record. It remained on the charts for 12 weeks. Three years later,
the Sweet Imspirations recorded the perennial favorite. On 9-5-1968, it
reached number 73, for a total of five weeks on the charts. And once again,
in 1981, Heart took a turn with "Unchained Melody", but by now it was a
case of diminishing returns--their version made it only to number 83.
"Unchained Melody" the love song that began as a prison movie theme, was
most recently used in the 1990 hit movie "Ghost", staring Parick Swayze
and Demi Moore. The Righteous Brothers' version is prominently used in
the sexy pottery throwing love scene between the film's two leads. Once
again, the Righteous Brothers (Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley) made it
to the charts for 12 weeks. It reached number 19 on 10-13-1990.
to whoever wrote this.