“Unchained Melody” by Elvis Presley was originally written by Hy Zaret, while the melody was provided by Alex North. It was used as a theme song for the movie Unchained (1955), wherein the vocals were done by Todd Duncan. The song has been recorded several times, and the most prominent was the one recorded by the Righteous Brothers in 1965.
It was in 1954 when Alex North was asked to compose a song for the prison film Unchained. Although North already had a melody, he wanted Hy Zaret to write the lyrics. At first, he refused, so both of them did it together. However, the producer requested that the word “unchained” should be included, but Zaret refused. Eventually, the song was entitled “Unchained Melody,” however, the word “unchained” is not found in the song.
Zaret wanted to focus on someone who had been longing for his lover, whom he had not seen for a long time. The movie tells the story of a man who has been contemplating whether to escape from prison or complete his sentence so he can return to his family. The song itself has an unusual melody.
Elvis Presley’s Version of “Unchained Melody”
Despite suffering from deteriorating health and drug abuse, Elvis Presley still managed to do a show in Rapid City on June 21, 1977. During the show, he performed the song “Unchained Melody.” Two months after his performance, Elvis died in August 1977. According to Rolling Stone, the performance was the last great moment of his career.
In March 1978, RCA Records released the recording of Elvis Presley’s “Unchained Melody,” and it peaked at number six on the country charts. On July 10, 1986, the record was certified Gold by Music Canada. Some of the most unforgettable Elvis Presley songs are “Suspicious Minds” and “Stuck On You.”
The video of Elvis Presley’s performance of “Unchained Melody” has been viewed several times, watch it here: