Soul singer Bill Medley will Headline
The Carl Parker Center at Lamar State College-Port Arthur will be rocking April 30, when legendary soul singer Bill Medley takes the stage to entertain patrons of the eighth annual “Gulf Coast Gala.”
Lamar State’s first gala was developed in 2004 to benefit cultural and visual arts at the Museum of the Gulf Coast, and to provide support for the college’s “Discovery” youth program, Alumni Fund, athletic scholarships, musical and theatrical productions and a variety of special projects, such as Lamar State’s July 4 celebration and the Regional Citizen Bee.
LSC-PA president Dr. Sam Monroe said the event, which is co-sponsored by the Port Arthur Higher Education Foundation, provides support for many programs that “enhance career potential, broaden intellectual horizons and enrich the quality of life for people in the area.”
“The gala has grown each year. We’ve had some wonderful entertainers,” Monroe said. “And we’re really looking forward to hearing Bill Medley’s amazing voice at this year’s gala.”
The event, which dinner and entertainment, begins with a 6 p.m. reception. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m., followed by the entertainment.
Four levels of sponsorships are available. Individual tickets are $125 per person. For sponsorships, tickets or information, call Donna Schion at 984-6101.
Bill Medley’s dynamic singing voice is familiar to decades of music lovers. He is best known as baritone half of the unmistakable duo The Righteous Brothers, who created the rhythm and blues genre known as “blue-eyed soul.”
Medley and his late partner, Bobby Hatfield, hit the top of the charts with such classics as You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling, Unchained Melody, Just Once in My Life and (You’re My) Soul and Inspiration.
Medley grew up in southern California, where he learned to love music from his father, who led a big band, and his mother, who played piano and sang.
Medley formed a group called The Paramours, and then met Hatfield, who led The Variations. When the two men first sang together, they knew were on to some magic.
“We started singing these rhythm and blues duets, and it was just absolutely instant,” Medley said. “We never had to rehearse. He knew the songs, and so did I. ‘I’ll sing this note; you sing on top.’ The instant we sang together it was like one voice.”
When this talent was combined with record producer Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” approach, the hit started coming as The Righteous Brothers scored in both the pop and R&B charts.
Medley and Hatfield split from Spector after four years, moved to a new record company and started producing their own records. Medley produced Soul and Inspiration, which stayed on the charts three weeks longer than You Lost that Lovin’ Feeling.
The partnership between Medley and Hatfield lasted four decades. Both men also explored solo careers during that time. They reunited in 1974 and resumed their hit-making ways with “Rock and Roll Heaven.”
In 1987, Medley teamed up with Jennifer Warnes to record the song (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life for the movie Dirty Dancing.
The song won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Grammy Award and was the Video of the Year. The movie soundtrack sold 14 million copies and put Medley back in the Billboard charts.
In 1990, the movie Ghost included You Lost that Lovin’ Feelin. The song ran up to the top of the charts again, introducing a new generation to the works of Medley and The Righteous Brothers.
The duo was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, a few months before Bobby Hatfield’s unexpected death. Medley not only lost his singing partner; he also lost a close friend he had known since his late teens.
Medley eventually decided to continue touring as a solo artist, and he recently returned to the studio to produce a new album honoring their historic partnership.
Damn Near Righteous pays tribute to a number of legendary mentors and peers, including Hatfield. The album contains both old and new material and covers of their hits.