Unchained Melody's Great Covers
Cover versions of songs are considered to be a newer rendition of a song previously recorded and commercially released. “Unchained Melody” written by Hy Zaret with music by Alex North, was a theme to the 1955 movie Unchained (from which the song title originated), and was originally sung by Todd Duncan for the film’s soundtrack. While that version was nominated for an Academy Award For Best Original Song, there were also three cover versions the same year that made it onto the Top Ten hit list. Les Baxter, Roy Hamilton, and Al Hibbler all recorded it, but Hibbler’s was the most popular for the next decade.
Along came the Righteous Brothers version, released in 1965, that set the standard for the song, reaching the Top Five. That same version, reissued in the 1990 film Ghost, enjoyed its revival by almost making the Top Ten again.
With over 500 versions to the song being recorded in hundreds of different languages, it is considered by many to be one of the most popular, singles recorded during the 20th century.
While covers can easily fall into the dime a dozen category, this song is a favorite of recording artists because of its built-in fan base and high level of romantic quality. Following are six covers to one of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, where Rolling Stone has it listed at #365.
Although much of Roy Orbison's work was original, he wasn't opposed to a cover. His version of "Unchained Melody" is priceless.
A cover by The Platters, members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, provides a rhythm and blues approach, and is one of the great covers of "Unchained Melody".
LeAnn Rimes did a slightly country version of "Unchained Melody", with cute hair and a tiny waist.
U2's cover version of the classic was on the B-side to their single "All I Want Is You".
Here, one of the most soulful versions of the song, covered by the great Al Green.