April 22, 2019 / 3:04 PM

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"You've Lost That Loving Feeling": 50 Years of The Righteous Brothers Classic and Five Covers, from Elvis to Hall & Oates


Fifty years ago on this date, The Righteous Brothers made one of its most important contributions to music culture (outside of the amazing band name "The Righteous Brothers"): The duo released its hit track "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." As with any classic pop track released during the '60s, a number of huge names took their turns at covering the original hit. We'll leave it up to you whether any of those covers live up to the original...all we know is that none of the performers involved in the covers had better names then the men who originated the track.

We ranked five classic covers from "in need of help" to "on the right track."

05) "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin" by Elvis Presley (1970)

Presley's version of the song has become part of his lore thanks to his frequent performances of the classic during concerts. This recording, featured on his album Elvis: That's The Way It Is, was recorded during a concert at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. The strategy for the live show was obvious: Feature Presley as a solo vocalist during the verses (as people were there to see him anyway) but then bring in the full choir of background vocalists for the hook, giving it that "big show" appeal. It's worked before on Presley live albums but we'd argue his interpretation of the Righteous Brothers comes off hollow here. A better option is to find video of him performing "Unchained Melody," another Righteous hit...The King at the piano singing alone is a great listen.

04) "You've Lost That Loving Feelin'" by Glen Campbell (1999)

If anyone should know how to handle "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," it should be country music legend Glen Campbell. After all, he was the rhythm guitarist on the Righteous Brothers' first recording of the track, prior to breaking it big as the "Rhinestone Cowboy." Therefore it's interesting to note the overall lack of guitars during his cover from the 1999 collection My Hits and Love Songs. Perhaps he thought an acoustic approach would be out of touch with the times, perhaps he wanted to show due diligence to his onetime employers by sticking to the formula. Either way, all we get of his country persona is his strong voice.

03) "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" by Dionne Warwick (1969)

Dionne Warwick was in the process of branching away from the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, plus the album was titled Soulful, so you can probably imagine what kind of style the vocalist performed in. We're not complaining: The infusion of extra heartbreak present in her R&B approach built upon what the Righteous Brothers had started and influenced many of the covers to follow (including Presley's). One downside to Warwick's version, better blamed on those behind the track's instrumentals: the classic bridge bassline that would undoubtedly inspire the opening to Grease's "Summer Nights."

02) "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway (1972)

Keeping things on the R&B/soul train, Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway included a version of the song as the second single rom their self-titled dual debut. Most interesting perhaps is the decision to strip the song back a bit—but not too much—from the implied orchestral features that existed in the previous incarnations of the song (Phil Spector was one of the song's original writers...of course it had orchestral elements). The most distinctive addition to the track is a rather phrygian approach to the guitar, giving it that Egyptian vibe.

01) "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by Hall & Oates (1980)

We're not gonna hate: The Hall & Oates rendition of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" is great. The song was the second cover the duo had ever recorded but they opted to follow the Flack & Hathaway train of thought and keep the song more barebones than the wall-of-sound approach. Listeners bought in, helping the track rise up to no. 12. This was the first time they had cracked the Top 20 since "Rich Girl" during 1977 and kicked off what fans refer to revitalization where the band became one of the biggest acts during the early '80s. We can't blame listeners of the age; we'd buy more if we heard this track.

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