♫ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ ♫

According to BMI music publishing, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ was played on U.S. radio and television more times than any other song in the 20th century. It got over 8 million plays from the time it was released in 1964 until 2000. (This figure includes all versions, not only the Righteous Brothers)

The husband-and-wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote this song at the request of Phil Spector, who was looking for a hit for an act he had just signed to his Philles label: The Righteous Brothers.

Inspired by Baby I Need Your Loving by The Four Tops, Mann & Weil came up with this song about a desperate attempt to rekindle a lost love.  The title You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ was just a placeholder until they could think of something better, but Spector thought it was great so they went with it. With most of the song written, Mann and Weil completed the song at Spector’s house, where Phil worked with them to compose the famous bridge (“Baaaby… I need your love…”).

The song was the first Righteous Brothers release on Philles, and it shot to #1, giving both the duo and the songwriting team of Mann & Weil their first #1 hit. It was Spector’s third #1 as a producer: he had previously hit the top spot with To Know Him Is To Love Him by The Teddy Bears and He’s A Rebel by The Crystals.

Phil Spector was determined to make this his finest production to date, and wanted it to be better than anything released by current top producers like Berry Gordy, George Martin, Andrew Loog Oldham and Brian Wilson. He chose the Righteous Brothers for their tremendous vocal talents, and enlisted his old Jazz guitar idol Barney Kessel to play on the song. Other musicians to play on the track included Los Angeles session pros Carol Kaye (acoustic guitar), Earl Palmer (drums) and Ray Pohlman (bass).  Cher, who did a lot of work with Spector early in her career, can also be heard on background vocals near the end of the song.

Phil Spector put a tremendous amount of effort (and about $35,000) into this production, but the final product was so unusual that he began to wonder if he had a hit. Seeking a second, third and fourth opinion, he played the song for the following people:

1) The song’s co-writer Barry Mann, who was convinced the song was recorded at the wrong speed. Spector called his engineer Larry Levine to confirm that it was supposed to sound that way.

2) His publisher Don Kirshner, who Spector respected for his musical opinion. Kirshner thought it was great, but suggested changing the title to “Bring Back That Lovin’ Feelin’.”

3) The popular New York disc jockey Murray the K.  Spector confided in Murray that the song was almost four minutes long (despite the label saying it was 3:05), and wanted to make sure he would play it. Murray thought the song was fantastic, but suggested moving the bass line in the middle to the beginning.

Spector heard all three opinions as criticism, and got very nervous. “The co-writer, the co-publisher and the number-one disc jockey in America all killed me,” Spector said in a 2003 interview with Telegraph Magazine. “I didn’t sleep for a week when that record came out. I was so sick, I got a spastic colon; I had an ulcer.”

When the song’s writers Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil sang this for the Righteous Brothers, low-voiced Bill Medley loved it, but Bobby Hatfield was puzzled, as the duo typically shared lead vocals and he was relegated to a minor part in this song. Hatfield asked, “What do I do while he’s singing the entire first verse?” Phil Spector replied, “You can go directly to the bank.”

According to Spector, The Righteous Brothers didn’t even want to record the song, as they fancied themselves more in the realm of rock and doo-wop.

Some of the artists who covered this include Elvis, Dionne Warwick, Hall and Oates, and Neil Diamond, among others. Warwick’s version hit #16 in 1969, Hall and Oates’ hot streak began when their remake hit #12 in 1980.

The song hit #1 in the U.S., Canada, and the UK.

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
The Righteous Brothers

You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips
And there’s no tenderness like before in your fingertips
You’re trying hard not to show it
But baby, baby I know it

You lost that lovin’ feelin’
Whoa, that lovin’ feelin’
You lost that lovin’ feelin’
Now it’s gone, gone, gone, whoa-oh

Now there’s no welcome look in your eyes when I reach for you
And now you’re starting to criticize little things I do
It makes me just feel like crying
‘Cause baby, something beautiful’s dyin’

You lost that lovin’ feelin’
Whoa, that lovin’ feelin’
You lost that lovin’ feelin’
Now it’s gone, gone, gone, whoa-oh

Baby, baby, I’d get down on my knees for you
If you would only love me like you used to do, yeah
We had a love, a love, a love you don’t find everyday
So don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t let it slip away

Baby, baby, baby, baby
I beg you please, please, please, please
I need your love, need your love
I need your love, I need your love
So bring it on back, so bring it on back
Bring it on back, bring it on back

Bring back that lovin’ feelin’
Whoa, that lovin’ feelin’
Bring back that lovin’ feelin’
‘Cause it’s gone, gone, gone
And I can’t go on, whoa-oh

Bring back that lovin’ feelin’
Whoa, that lovin’ feelin’
Bring back that lovin’ feelin’
‘Cause it’s gone, gone, gone

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Phil Spector / Barry Mann / Cynthia Weil
You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

20 thoughts on “♫ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ ♫

  1. Magic. An achingly beautiful song which no one has ever done better than the Righteous Brothers. Still raises the goose-bumps. Great choice Jill
    (PS: For smoky late night club atmosphere….check out ‘There’s a Woman’ by this duo…..like…smooth….. It was a B side and on an LP…Bill Medley wrote it, but then didn’t like it….ah well)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you liked it and enjoyed the backstory! That, for me, is the fun part about doing these music posts … I’m amazed by how much I didn’t know about where the music I’ve always loved came from!

      Like

  2. I doubt this song will ever not be played by the DJ’s and by people who want the greatest break-up heartache record ever.. It was (and is) a great song and in this case sung by the most polished and accomplished singers. The originals are usually the best. It’s a shame they didn’t have a longer career as a duo. Bill Medley of course reprised his career with his Unchained Melody in the film Ghost which surely must have been an even bigger hit for the Righteous Brothers back in the day.
    Cwtch.

    Liked by 1 person

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