What's So Unchained About the Melody?
In 1965 the Righteous Brothers recorded a love song that became a blockbuster and a staple of pop music culture ever since: "Unchained Melody." It was released on their album Just Once In My Life and, amazingly, as the B-side of a 45 rpm single, with the song "Hung On You" as the A-side selection.
Twenty-five years later a second wave of popularity for the recording surged when it was included in the hit film Ghost during the iconic love scene between Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.
The title comes from the origin of the song. In 1955 a song-writing team, Alex North (music) and Hy Zaret (lyrics) were commissioned to write the song for a prison film called Unchained. Hence the title "Unchained Melody" (although more accurately it should be called "Theme from Unchained").
The movie is about a prisoner torn between finishing his sentence or escaping to return to his wife and family. The song is sung as part of a scene by Todd Duncan, an actor and opera singer who played Porgy in the National Theater production of Porgy and Bess, handpicked by composer George Gershwin himself to play the role.